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A New Tomato-Infecting Begomovirus in Barbados

    Authors and Affiliations
    • M. E. Roye
    • N. M. Henry
    • P. D. Burrell
    • W. A. McLaughlin , Department of Basic Medical Sciences and the Biotechnology Center, University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica
    • M. K. Nakhla
    • D. P. Maxwell , Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706

      In September 1998, tomato plants in Barbados exhibited symptoms of severe leaf curling without marginal chlorosis. These symptoms were often associated with an increase in whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) populations. DNA was extracted from leaf tissue from symptomatic tomato plants. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed with DNA-A degenerate primer pair PAC1v1978/PAV1c715, which amplifies part of the rep gene, the cp gene, and the common region (CR), and with DNA-B primer pair PBC1v2039/PBV1c800, which amplifies part of the bc1 and bv1 genes and the CR (2). The amplified PCR fragments of DNA-A and DNA-B were 1.3 and 1.4 kb, respectively, which are the expected sizes from bipartite, whitefly-transmitted geminiviruses of the Western Hemisphere (2). DNA sequence of the cloned fragments of DNA-A and DNA-B are available as GenBank No. AF213013 and AF213014, respectively. The 181 nucleotides of the CR of DNA-A had a nucleotide identity of 96% with the CR of DNA-B, which indicates that this is a bipartite begomovirus. Pairwise comparisons using DNASTAR (DNASTAR, Madison, WI) of the sequenced part of DNA-A was most similar to Cabbage leaf curl virus (CaLCuV, 69%, U65529) and Squash leaf curl virus extended host range isolate (SqLCV-E, 64%, M38183), and <59% to 13 other bipartite Western Hemisphere geminiviruses and Tomato yellow leaf curl virus from Israel (X15656). Pairwise comparisons of the DNA-B fragment sequence was 59 and 55% similar to CaLCuV (U65530) and SqLCV-E (M38182), respectively. Phylogenetic analysis of DNA-A of the major groups of Western Hemisphere begomoviruses placed the Barbados tomato-infecting geminivirus in the cluster with CaLCuV and SqLCV-E (1), while DNA-B analysis placed it with CaLCuV. The DNA-A amplified fragment was used as a probe at high stringency with the dot blot hybridization assay using the Genius II labeling and detection kit (Boeringer Mannheim) to detect this geminivirus in tomato and several other plant species, which had typical geminiviral symptoms. Strong hybridization signals were obtained for all 23 tomato plants with symptoms, weak signals were observed for two of three muskmelon and two of seven watermelon plants, all with leaf curling symptoms. No hybridization signals were observed for peppers with leaf curling symptoms and two weed species, Macroptilium lathyroides and Rhynchosia minima, with golden mosaic symptoms or with the symptomless plant species used as negative controls. The weak signals observed from watermelon and muskmelon samples indicated the presence of low virus titer or geminiviruses distinct from this tomato virus. The presence of viral DNA in these two plant species was confirmed by PCR with degenerate primers described above. Resulting database searches of sequences in the GenBank revealed that the Barbados tomato virus appears to be a previously unreported virus. This new virus is given the provisional name Tomato leaf curl Barbados virus (ToLCBBV).

      References: (1) J. C. Faria et al. Phytopathology 84:321, 1994. (2) M. R. Rojas et al. Plant Dis. 77:340, 1993.