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A new begomovirus infecting pepper plants in Cuba

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious

April 28, 2006
From: ProMED-mail<>
Source: British Society for Plant Pathology, New Disease Reports, Vol.
13 [edited] <>

A new begomovirus infecting pepper plants in Cuba
Y. Martinez Zubiaur*, Y. Muniz Martin and M. Quinones Pantoja
Plant Pathology Group, National Centre for Animal and Plant
(CENSA). P.O. Box 10, San Jose De las lajas, , Cuba
Accepted for publication 5 Apr 2006

Diseases caused by begomoviruses are a major threat to vegetable
production for countries in the Caribbean and Central America. In 1996,
an isolate of Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) was reported to be
affecting tomato plants (_Lycopersicon esculentum_) throughout Cuba
(Martinez et al., 1996). In 2002, the same virus was detected in pepper
(_Capsicum annuum_) in Camaguey, Sancti Spiritus and provinces
and in bean (_Phaseolus vulgaris_) plants in Havana province (Martinez
et al., 2002; Quinones et al., 2002).

During a survey in 2005, in the pepper production areas of eastern
Cuban, about 70 percent of pepper plants growing at an Experimental
Station in Holguin province, showed symptoms that differed from those
previously described for TYLCV in pepper. Symptoms consisted of plant
stunting and a severe leaf yellow mosaic with
crinkling and curling. Ten representative symptomatic plants were
collected and leaf samples analyzed by transmission electron microscopy.
Total nucleic acid was extracted and assayed by non-radioactive nucleic acid
hybridisation, using a TYLCV intergenic region probe under low
stringency conditions (Quinones et al., 2002) and by polymerase chain
reaction (PCR). All leaf samples showed the presence of typical
geminivirus particles, whereas none exhibited hybridisation signals.
Using PCR with degenerate primers that specifically amplify the
coat protein region from begomoviruses (Wyatt & Brown, 1996), all
samples produced amplicons of the expected size (576 bp). PCR amplicons
from 3 samples were cloned in pGEM T-Easy vectors (Promega).

The clones were sequenced and BLAST analysis showed the highest identity
(98 percent) within clones; between 93 percent and 94 percent identity
with Cabbage leaf curl virus (U65529 and AF065815, respectively) and
between 87 percent and 90 percent identity with Pepper yellow vein virus
(AF 063139), Pepper golden mosaic virus (AY368336) and Texas pepper
mosaic virus (AF077025). However there was only 68 percent identity with
TYLCV (AJ223505). One of the sequences was deposited in GenBank
(DQ207808) as representative of the 3 clones. This report shows the
occurrence of a new begomovirus in pepper plants in Cuba.

Acknowledgement: This work was support by an INCO BETOCARIB project
(PLICA4-2000-10328) and the Cuban Biotechnology programs.


Martinez-Zubiaur Y, Zabalgogeazcoa I, de Blas C, Sanchez F, Peralta EL,
Romero J, Ponz FM, 1996. Geminiviruses associated with diseased tomatoes
in Cuba. Phytopathology 144, 277-279.

Martinez Y, Quinones M, Fonseca D, Potter J, Maxwell DP, 2002. First
report of Tomato yellow leaf curl virus infecting bean (_Phaseolus
vulgaris_) in Cuba. Plant Disease 86, 814.

Quinones M, Fonseca D, Acotto GP, Martinez Y, 2002. Viral infection
associated with the presence of Begomoviruses in pepper plants in Cuba.
Plant Disease 86, 73.

Wyatt SD, Brown JK, 1996. Detection of subgroup III geminivirus isolates
in leaf extracts by degenerate primers and polymerase chain reaction.
Phytopathology 86, 1288-1293.


[The crop plant pepper, _Capsicum annuum_, develops yellow mosaic and
leaf crumpling symptoms when infected by a begomovirus newly detected in
Cuba. The samples were collected in 2005 from a single site at an
Experimental Station in Holguin province. The begomovirus tomato yellow
leaf curl virus is common in Cuba in tomato and pepper, but this new
virus is not likely to be a strain of TYLC. When the sequence of the
cDNA corresponding to the coat protein was compared to other
begomoviruses the closest affinity was with cabbage leaf curl virus
(CLCV). It remains to be seen if other regions of the genome share this
close similarity with CLCV. CLCV causes disease in cabbage in Jamaica
(see 2006 posting 20060310.0768) but there is no commentary in this
article on how common CLCV is in Cuba on cabbage.

This is yet another report pointing out the diversity of begomoviruses
and the frequent discovery of new viruses of the group. They are ssDNA
viruses (family: _Geminiviridae_, genus: _Begomovirus_) which are
transmitted by
whiteflies (_Bemisia tabaci_). They have a great capacity to form
hybrids and therefore new viruses. Once introduced into an area they are
difficult to control. There are approximately 100 previous postings on
begomoviruses in ProMED-mail archives (search term: begomovirus). The
posting included in ³see also:² are for begomoviruses of pepper,
begomoviruses in Cuba and for cabbage leaf curl virus.

Holguin Province:

– Mod.JAD]

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