Big-vein is a widespread and damaging disease of lettuce, transmitted through soil by the chytrid fungus Olpidium brassicae , and generally supposed to be caused by Lettuce big-vein virus (LBVV; genus Varicosavirus ). This virus is reported to have rigid rod-shaped particles, a divided double-stranded RNA genome, and one capsid protein of 48 kD, but has not been isolated or rigorously shown to cause the disease. We provide evidence that a totally different virus, here named Mirafiori lettuce virus (MiLV), is also very frequently associated with lettuce showing big-vein symptoms. MiLV was mechanically transmissible from lettuce to Chenopodium quinoa and to several other herbaceous test plants. The virus was partially purified, and an antiserum prepared, which did not react with LBVV particles in decoration tests. As reported for LBVV, MiLV was labile, soil-transmitted and had a single capsid protein of 48 kD, but the particles morphologically resembled those of ophioviruses, and like these, MiLV had a genome of three RNA segments approximately 8.5, 1.9 and 1.7 kb in size. MiLV preparations reacted strongly in Western blots and in ISEM with antiserum to Tulip mild mottle mosaic virus , an ophiovirus from Japan also apparently Olpidium -transmitted. They reacted weakly but clearly in Western blots with antiserum to Ranunculus white mottle virus , another ophiovirus. When lettuce seedlings were mechanically inoculated with crude or partially purified extracts from MiLV-infected test plants, many became systemically infected with MiLV and some developed big-vein symptoms. Such plants did not react in ELISA using an LBVV antiserum or an antiserum to tobacco stunt virus, and varicosavirus-like particles were never seen in them in the EM after negative staining. We conclude that MiLV is a hitherto undescribed virus assignable to the genus Ophiovirus . The cause or causes of lettuce big-vein disease and the properties of LBVV may need to be re-evaluated in light of our results.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2000
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