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First Report of China Rose (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) as a Host of Alfalfa mosaic virus in Spain

March 2012 , Volume 96 , Number  3
Pages  462.2 - 462.2

G. Parrella, Istituto per la Protezione delle Piante, CNR, Via Università 133, 80055 Portici (NA), Italy; E. Fiallo-Olivé, Instituto de Hortofruticultura Subtropical y Mediterránea “La Mayora” (IHSM-UMA-CSIC), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 29750 Algarrobo-Costa, Málaga, Spain and Centro Nacional de Sanidad Agropecuaria (CENSA), San José de Las Lajas, Mayabeque, Cuba; and J. Navas-Castillo, Instituto de Hortofruticultura Subtropical y Mediterránea “La Mayora” (IHSM-UMA-CSIC), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 29750 Algarrobo-Costa, Málaga, Spain

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Accepted for publication 22 November 2011.

China rose (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.) is an ornamental plant grown throughout the tropics and subtropics. In June 2011, a China rose plant (sample CV-1) showing bright yellow “aucuba”-type mosaic, mainly at the center of the leaves, was found in a public garden in Caleta de Vélez (Málaga Province, southern Spain). Electron microscope examination of negatively stained preparations from the symptomatic plant revealed the presence of semispherical to bacilliform virus-like particles of 30 to 56 × 16 nm. Sap extracts also reacted positively in double-antibody sandwich (DAS)-ELISA to antiserum against Alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV) (Bioreba AG, Reinach, Switzerland). RNA of this sample was extracted with the RNeasy Kit (Qiagen, Valencia, CA) and tested by reverse-transcription (RT)-PCR with AMV specific primers (2), using AMV and GoTaq Master Mixes (Promega, Madison, WI) for cDNA synthesis and amplification, respectively. After cloning and sequencing, the ~750-bp DNA fragment was confirmed as the coat protein (CP) gene of AMV (GenBank Accession No. HE591387) with the highest nucleotide identity of 96% to AMV isolates belonging to subgroup IIA (e.g., GenBank Accession No. AJ130707). Sap from affected leaves of sample CV-1 was mechanically inoculated onto herbaceous indicator plants (Chenopodium amaranticolor, C. quinoa, and Ocimum basilicum). Both Chenopodium species developed chlorotic local lesions followed by mosaic within 3 days after inoculation, and O. basilicum showed bright yellow mosaic of calico type 2 weeks postinoculation. These symptoms are consistent with those reported for AMV in these hosts (1). Virus infection in the inoculated plants was confirmed by DAS-ELISA and RT-PCR. To gain insight on the prevalence and genetic variability of AMV in China rose, a survey was carried out in nearby locations in the provinces of Málaga (14 samples from Torre del Mar and 5 samples from Rincón de la Victoria) and Granada (12 samples from La Herradura). Leaf samples were analyzed by tissue blot hybridization with an AMV-specific digoxigenin-labeled RNA probe obtained from the RNA 1 of the Spanish isolate Tec1 (3), and only two samples from Torre del Mar tested positive. One of these samples (TM-2) was used to amplify by RT-PCR the AMV CP gene that was cloned and sequenced (GenBank Accession No. HE591386). The highest nucleotide identity of the TM-2 CP gene (98%) was with the subgroup IIB Spanish isolate Tec1, whereas identity with the CV-1 isolate was 95%. Nevertheless, phylogenetic analysis (neighbor-joining method) showed that both CV-1 and TM-2 isolates belong to the recently proposed AMV subgroup IIB (3), which includes the Tec1 isolate and two other isolates from ornamental plants, Phlox paniculata from the United States (GenBank Accession No. DQ124429) and Viburnum lucidum from Spain (GenBank Accession No. EF427449). These results show that AMV subgroup IIB is emerging as a complex cluster of virus isolates that currently are reported to infect only ornamentals. To our knowledge, this is the first report of AMV naturally occurring in China rose.

References: (1) G. Marchoux et al. Page 163 in: Virus des Solanacées. Quae éditions, Versailles, 2008. (2) G. Parrella et al. Arch. Virol. 145:2659, 2000. (3) G. Parrella et al. Arch. Virol. 156:1049, 2011.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society