State Key Laboratory for Agro-Biotechnology and Ministry of Agricultural Key Laboratory for Plant Pathology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, P. R. China
Chinese cucumber (Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim.) is a type of perennial liana plant of the Cucurbitaceae family that is mainly distributed in East Asia and northern Australia. It is an important medicinal plant and commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs (2). During the summer and autumn of 2012, T. kirilowii plants showing symptoms of mild mosaic on the upper leaves and bright yellow color on the lower leaves were observed in the Haidian district of Beijing, China. Recently similar symptoms induced by Cucurbit mild mosaic virus (CuMMV) on squash have been reported. CuMMV is a new member of the genus Fabavirus in the Comovirinae subfamily, discovered in China in 2006 (1). Total RNA was extracted from five leaf samples of independent plants and used for reverse transcription with an oligo (dT)18 primer, followed by PCR with a pair of CuMMV virus-specific primers FaR13012F (5′-CGAGTGCGAGTTAGAAATTGGGATG-3′) and FaR15783R (5′-TCACTTTGAGGTGATAAAACAATCC-3′) to amplify a 2,772-bp fragment including RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) coding region. The expected target fragment was obtained in all symptomatic plant samples but not from an asymptomatic plant. Nucleotide sequence comparison analysis showed that the virus isolated from T. kirilowii (GenBank Accession No. KC959843) had 95.33% nucleotide identity and 99.15% amino acid identity in the RdRp sequence with a CuMMV isolate from squash (GenBank Accession No. FJ194941) (1). In addition, symptomatic samples tested positive for CuMMV by Western blot using CuMMV small coat protein (SCP) specific polyclonal antibody (1). To our knowledge, this is the first report of T. kirilowii as natural host of CuMMV in China. The impact of CuMMV on T. kirilowii production remains to be determined; however, the extended host range for this virus suggests a potential threat of CuMMV to cucurbit crops in China.
References: (1) S. W. Dong et al. Arch. Virol.157:597, 2012. (2) J. H. Hong et al. China Pharmacist 7:561, 2004.