Development of a full-genome cDNA clone of Citrus leaf blotch virus and infection of citrus plants
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AutorVives,Maria Carmen; Martin,Susana; Ambros,Silvia; Renovell,Agueda; Navarro,Luis; Pina,Jose Antonio; Moreno,Pedro; Guerri,Jose
Citrus leaf blotch virus (CLBV), a member of the family Flexiviridae, has a similar to 9-kb single-stranded, positive-sense genomic RNA encapsidated by a 41-kDa coat protein. CLBV isolates are associated with symptom production in citrus including leaf blotching of Dweet tangor and stem pitting in Etrog citron (Dweet mottle disease), and some isolates are associated with bud union crease on trifoliate rootstocks, but Koch's postulates for this virus were not fulfilled. A full-genome cDNA of CLBV isolate SRA-153, which induces bud union crease, was placed under the T7 promoter (clone T7-CLBV), or between the 35S promoter and the Nos-t terminator, with or without a ribozyme sequence downstream of the CLBV sequence (clones 35SRbz-CLBV and 35S-CLBV). RNA transcripts from T7-CLBV failed to infect Etrog citron and Nicotiana occidentalis and N. benthamiana plants, whereas agro-inoculation with binary vectors carrying 35SRbz-CLBV or 35S-CLBV, and the p19 silencing suppressor, caused systemic infection and production of normal CLBV virions. Virus accumulation was similar in citron plants directly agro-infiltrated, or mechanically inoculated with wild-type or 35SRbz-CLBV-derived virions from Nicotiana, and the three sources incited the symptoms characteristic of Dweet mottle disease, but not bud union crease. Our results show that (1) virions derived from an infectious clone show the same replication, movement and pathogenicity characteristics as the wild-type CLBV; (2) CLBV is the causal agent of Dweet mottle disease but not of the bud union crease syndrome; and (3) for the first time an RNA virus could be successfully agro-inoculated on citrus plants. This infectious clone may become a useful viral vector for citrus genomic studies.