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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Genetic Improvement and Virus Management of Small Fruit Crops

Location: Horticultural Crops Research

Title: A new Ophiovirus is associated with blueberry mosaic disease

Authors
item Thekke-Veetil, T -
item Tzanetakis, I -
item Keller, Karen
item Martin, Robert

Submitted to: Virus Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 17, 2014
Publication Date: August 30, 2014
Citation: Thekke-Veetil, T., Tzanetakis, I.E., Keller, K.E., Martin, R.R. 2014. A new Ophiovirus is associated with blueberry mosaic disease. Virus Research. 189:92-96.

Interpretive Summary: Blueberry mosaic disease was first described more than 60 years ago and until now the causal agent has been unknown. There were suggestions in the past the symptoms were the result of chimeric plants. Later it was shown to be caused by a graft transmissible agent and a viroid was suspected but later found not be associated with the disease symptoms. Here we report the identification of a new ophiovirus that is strongly associated with the disease symptoms as the virus was present in 35 of 35 symptomatic plants tested, and also in two asymptomatic plants. In most symptomatic plants the bright mosaic symptom is usually present on only a portion of the bush, though the virus is present throughout the plant. We used a combination of traditional methods and next generation sequencing to identify a new negative-strand RNA virus in symptomatic plants. Phylogenetic analysis, supported by high bootstrap values, places the virus within the family Ophioviridae. The genome organization resembles that of Citrus psorosis virus, the type member of the genus Ophiovirus. It appears that some cultivars of blueberry do not exhibit any symptoms when infected with Blueberry mosaic associated virus. Additionally, symptom expression may be strongly influenced by environmental conditions, with hot weather resulting in mild or lack of symptoms.

Technical Abstract: Blueberry mosaic disease (BMD) was first described more than 60 years ago and is caused by a yet unidentified graft transmissible agent. A combination of traditional methods and next generation sequencing disclosed the presence of a new negative-strand RNA virus in symptomatic plants. The virus was detected in all BMD samples collected from several production areas of North America and was thus named Blueberry mosaic associated virus. Phylogenetic analysis, supported by high bootstrap values, places the virus within the family Ophioviridae. The genome organization resembles that of Citrus psorosis virus, the type member of the genus Ophiovirus. The implications of this discovery in BMD control and blueberry virus certification schemes are also discussed.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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