U. E. Ammara and
A. Al-Shihi, Department of Crop Sciences, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Al-Khod 123, Oman;
I. Amin, Agricultural Biotechnology Division, National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), Faisalabad, Pakistan; and
A. M. Al-Sadi, Department of Crop Sciences, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Al-Khod 123, Oman
Leaf curl disease with severe curling, vein darkening, and vein thickening was observed on papaya plants in a field in Qurayat district of Oman during December 2013. Disease incidence ranged from 50 to 70%, particularly in young papaya plants. The presence of a large population of whiteflies and symptoms observed on papaya plants suggested that the causal agent could be begomoviruses (family Geminiviridae) and associated satellites. Four leaf samples with mild and severe leaf curling were collected from the field. Total nucleic acid extracted from symptomatic and healthy plants using the CTAB method were used as a template to amplify circular DNAs using Φ29 DNA polymerase, and products were digested with restriction enzymes to identify fragments of 2.6 to 2.8 kb typical of geminiviruses. BamHI yielded fragments of ~2.8 and 1.4 kb when the digested products were resolved by electrophoresis on a 1% agarose gel. These fragments were cloned and sequenced using a primer walking strategy in both directions. Sequencing results confirmed the exact sizes of 1,303, 1,358, and 2,765 bp; the sequences were deposited in GenBank under the accession numbers HG969296, HG969297, and HG969260, respectively. BLAST results showed that the first two sequences are Tomato leaf curl betasatellite (ToLCB; isolates Pap-2 and Pap-3) showing 97% sequence identity with a previously reported ToLCB sequence (Accession No. KF229728). Both satellites encode a single gene in the complementary sense strand referred to as βC1, which showed 97% sequence identity to ToLCB (HE800551). The viral sequence (isolate Pap-6) showed four genes in the complementary sense (the replication-associated protein [Rep] gene, the transcription-activator protein [TrAP] gene, the replication-enhancer protein [REn] gene, and the C4 gene) and two genes (pre-coat protein [V2] and coat protein [CP]) in virion-sense (2). BLAST analysis showed 95.2% sequence identity to Tomato leaf curl Albatinah virus (ToLCABV; FJ956700), reported earlier to infect tomato in Oman (3). Amino acid sequence comparison of the four predicted proteins (Rep, TrAP, Ren, and C4) encoded by Pap-6 shared 95, 96, 100, and 100% sequence identity, whereas virion-sense proteins (V1 and V2) shared 99% sequence identity with ToLCABV (FJ956700). According to the recommendations of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, these results indicate that the virus identified in association with papaya leaf curl disease in Oman is a variant of ToLCABV (1). All infected samples showed the presence of ToLCABV, while no hybridization was observed in healthy control DNA using ToLCABV probe. These findings are indicative of the rapid spread of diseases involving Begomovirus and betasatellites, which often result in increased host range, as is evident from this study.
References: (1) C. M. Fauquet et al. Arch. Virol. 148:405, 2003. (2) L. Hanley-Bowdoin et al. Crit. Rev. Plant Sci. 18:71, 1999. (3) A. J. Khan et al. Arch. Virol. 159:445, 2013.