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Phytopathology. 2001 Aug;91(8):797-806. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO.2001.91.8.797.

Characterization of Distinct Tombusviruses that Cause Diseases of Lettuce and Tomato in the Western United States.


A soilborne disease of lettuce, associated with necrosis and dieback, has been found with increasing frequency in California and Arizona over the last 10 years. An isometric virus, serologically related to Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV), was consistently isolated from lettuce plants with these disease symptoms. Back-inoculation to healthy lettuce plants and subsequent reisolation of the virus from symptomatic lettuce leaves suggested that this virus was the causal agent of this disease. A tombusvirus was also associated with a necrosis disease of greenhouse-grown tomatoes in Colorado and New Mexico. Complementary DNA representing the 3' end of viral genomic RNAs recovered from diseased lettuce and tomato plants had identical nucleotide sequences. However, these sequences were divergent (12.2 to 17.1%) from sequences of the previously described strains of TBSV, Petunia asteroid mosaic virus (PAMV), Artichoke mottled crinkle virus, and Carnation Italian ringspot virus. Additional tombusvirus isolates were recovered from diseased lettuce and tomato plants and these were most closely related to the TBSV-cherry strain (synonymous with PAMV) and to Cucumber necrosis virus based on comparison of 3'-end sequences (0.1 to 0.6% and 4.8 to 5.1% divergence, respectively). Western blot analysis revealed that the new tombusvirus isolated from diseased lettuce and tomato plants in the western United States is serologically distinct from previously described tombusvirus species and strains. Based on genomic and serological properties, we propose to classify this virus as a new tombusvirus species and name it Lettuce necrotic stunt virus.

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