Mealybug wilt of pineapple (MWP) is a disease of pineapple that has a long history in Hawaii, but is present throughout the world where pineapples are grown in tropical regions. The disease has an interesting etiology that is poorly understood but involves an association with virus particles, mealybug vectors, and ants which spread the mealybug vectors. Several distinct pineapple mealybug wilt-associated virus (PMWaV) species have been identified thus far with potential further member species yet to be characterized. Pineapple mealybug wilt-associated viruses are member species of the Ampelovirus
genus of the Closteroviridae
family. Ampeloviruses are split into two subgroups, subgroup I and subgroup II. PMWaV-2 is a subgroup II member, and these have a longer and more complex genome with additional genes on the 3’ terminus of the RNA genome compared to subgroup I ampeloviruses. PMWaV-2, along with the presence of mealybug vectors, have been shown to be necessary factors in symptom development in Hawaii. Some of these extra genes in the 3’ of PMWaV-2 have recently been shown to function as silencing suppressors, and may play a role in the virulence of PMWaV-2 and symptom development. In other regions of the world, reports of symptomatic plants without PMWaV-2 infection, but with PMWaV-1, -3 or some combination, contradict the requirement of PMWaV-2 for symptom development in MWP. It is possible that further, uncharacterized PMWaVs may be present in symptomatic pineapple plants that test negative for PMWaV-2, explaining the inconsistency in symptom development. More research is necessary to explore the confusing etiology of the MWP disease, and to perhaps shed light upon the symptom development.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited