Lettuce necrotic yellows virus (LNYV) is the type member of the genus Cytorhabdovirus , family Rhabdoviridae , and causes a severe disease of lettuce ( Lactuca sativa L.). This virus has been described as endemic to Australia and New Zealand, with sporadic reports of a similar virus in Europe. Genetic variability studies of plant-infecting rhabdoviruses are scarce. We have extended a previous study on the variability of the LNYV nucleocapsid gene, comparing sequences from isolates sampled from both Australia and New Zealand, as well as analysing symptom expression on Nicotiana glutinosa . Phylogenetic and BEAST analyses confirm separation of LNYV isolates into two subgroups (I and II) and suggest that subgroup I is slightly older than subgroup II. No correlation was observed between isolate subgroup and disease symptoms on N. glutinosa . The origin of LNYV remains unclear; LNYV may have moved between native and weed hosts within Australia or New Zealand before infecting lettuce or may have appeared as a result of at least two incursions, with the first coinciding with the beginning of European agriculture in the region. The apparent extinction of subgroup I in Australia may have been due to less-efficient dispersal than that which has occurred for subgroup II – possibly a consequence of suboptimal interactions with plant and/or insect hosts. Introduction of subgroup II to New Zealand appears to be more recent. More-detailed epidemiological studies using molecular tools are needed to fully understand how LNYV interacts with its hosts and to determine where the virus originated.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 1, 2016
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