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J Virol. 2004 Oct;78(19):10715-23.

Tête à tête of tomato yellow leaf curl virus and tomato yellow leaf curl sardinia virus in single nuclei.

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Departmento de Biología Celular, Genética y Fisiología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Málaga, Campus de Teatinos, Málaga, Spain.


Since 1997 two distinct geminivirus species, Tomato yellow leaf curl Sardinia virus (TYLCSV) and Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), have caused a similar yellow leaf curl disease in tomato, coexisted in the fields of southern Spain, and very frequently doubly infected single plants. Tomatoes as well as experimental test plants (e.g., Nicotiana benthamiana) showed enhanced symptoms upon mixed infections under greenhouse conditions. Viral DNA accumulated to a similar extent in singly and doubly infected plants. In situ tissue hybridization showed TYLCSV and TYLCV DNAs to be confined to the phloem in both hosts, irrespective of whether they were inoculated individually or in combination. The number of infected nuclei in singly or doubly infected plants was determined by in situ hybridization of purified nuclei. The percentage of nuclei containing viral DNA (i.e., 1.4% in tomato or 6% in N. benthamiana) was the same in plants infected with either TYLCSV, TYLCV, or both. In situ hybridization of doubly infected plants, with probes that discriminate between both DNAs, revealed that at least one-fifth of infected nuclei harbored DNAs from both virus species. Such a high number of coinfected nuclei may explain why recombination between different geminivirus DNAs occurs frequently. The impact of these findings for epidemiology and for resistance breeding concerning tomato yellow leaf curl diseases is discussed.

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