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New World Cactaceae Plants Harbor Diverse Geminiviruses

Identification of the Begomoviruses Squash Leaf Curl Virus and Watermelon Chlorotic Stunt Virus in Various Plant Samples in North America

The Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas, 800 W Campbell Rd, Richardson, TX 75080, USA
The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, AZ 85008, USA
División de Biología Molecular, Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica, A.C., Camino a la Presa de San José 2055, Lomas 4ta Secc, San Luis Potosi 78216, Mexico
CIRAD, UMR PHIM, 34090 Montpellier, France
PHIM Plant Health Institute, Univ Montpellier, CIRAD, INRAE, Institut Agro, IRD, 34090 Montpellier, France
Embrapa Recursos Genéticos e Biotecnologia, Brasília 70770-917, Brazil
Computational Biology Division, Department of Integrative Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, Observatory, 7925 Cape Town, South Africa
CIRAD, UMR PVBMT, F-97410 St. Pierre, France
Center for Evolution and Medicine, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
Structural Biology Research Unit, Department of Integrative Biomedical Sciences, University of Cape Town, 7925 Cape Town, South Africa
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jan Frederik Kreuze and Adrian Fox
Viruses 2021, 13(5), 810;
Received: 5 April 2021 / Revised: 20 April 2021 / Accepted: 28 April 2021 / Published: 30 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Virus Surveillance and Metagenomics)
Geminiviruses are a group of plant-infecting viruses with single-stranded DNA genomes. Within this family, viruses in the genus Begomovirus are known to have a worldwide distribution causing a range of severe diseases in a multitude of dicotyledonous plant species. Begomoviruses are transmitted by the whitefly Bemisia tabaci, and their ssDNA genomes can be either monopartite or bipartite. As part of a viral survey, various plants including those in the families Alliaceae, Amaranthaceae, Apiaceae, Asteraceae, Brassicaceae, Cactaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Lamiaceae, Lauraceae, Malvaceae, Oleaceae and Solanaceae were sampled and screened for begomoviruses using both a high-throughput sequencing and a begomovirus-specific primer pair approach. Based on the sequences derived using these approaches, the full-length genome of various begomoviruses were amplified from plants using abutting primers. Squash leaf curl virus (SLCV) and watermelon chlorotic stunt virus (WCSV) were identified in Cactaceae (n = 25), Solanaceae (n = 7), Cucurbitaceae (n = 2) and Lamiaceae (n = 1) samples. WCSV is an Old World bipartite begomovirus that has only recently been discovered infecting watermelons in the Americas. Our discovery of WCSV in the USA is the first indication that it has reached this country and indicates that this virus might be widespread throughout North America. Phylogenetic analysis suggests WCSV was introduced to the New World twice. The detection of begomoviruses in cactus plants suggests possible spillover events from agricultural areas into native vegetation. Since WCSV and SLCV have previously been found in mixed infections, pseudo-recombination infection experiments were conducted. We demonstrate that WCSV DNA-B is successfully trans-replicated by SLCV DNA-A despite very low degree of similarity between the replication-associated iterative sequences present in their common region, an essential feature for binding of the replication associated protein. This study highlights the importance of viral surveys for the detection of spillover events into native vegetation, but also suggests the need for more surveillance of WCSV in the USA, as this virus is a serious threat to watermelon cultivation in the Middle East. View Full-Text
Keywords: Geminiviridae; begomovirus; pseudo-recombination; recombination Geminiviridae; begomovirus; pseudo-recombination; recombination
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MDPI and ACS Style

Fontenele, R.S.; Bhaskara, A.; Cobb, I.N.; Majure, L.C.; Salywon, A.M.; Avalos-Calleros, J.A.; Argüello-Astorga, G.R.; Schmidlin, K.; Roumagnac, P.; Ribeiro, S.G.; Kraberger, S.; Martin, D.P.; Lefeuvre, P.; Varsani, A. Identification of the Begomoviruses Squash Leaf Curl Virus and Watermelon Chlorotic Stunt Virus in Various Plant Samples in North America. Viruses 2021, 13, 810.

AMA Style

Fontenele RS, Bhaskara A, Cobb IN, Majure LC, Salywon AM, Avalos-Calleros JA, Argüello-Astorga GR, Schmidlin K, Roumagnac P, Ribeiro SG, Kraberger S, Martin DP, Lefeuvre P, Varsani A. Identification of the Begomoviruses Squash Leaf Curl Virus and Watermelon Chlorotic Stunt Virus in Various Plant Samples in North America. Viruses. 2021; 13(5):810.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Fontenele, Rafaela S., Amulya Bhaskara, Ilaria N. Cobb, Lucas C. Majure, Andrew M. Salywon, Jesús A. Avalos-Calleros, Gerardo R. Argüello-Astorga, Kara Schmidlin, Philippe Roumagnac, Simone G. Ribeiro, Simona Kraberger, Darren P. Martin, Pierre Lefeuvre, and Arvind Varsani. 2021. "Identification of the Begomoviruses Squash Leaf Curl Virus and Watermelon Chlorotic Stunt Virus in Various Plant Samples in North America" Viruses 13, no. 5: 810.

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