Emergence and phylodynamics of Citrus tristeza virus in Sicily, Italy.
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AutorDavino,Salvatore; Willemsen,Anouk; Panno,Stefano; Davino,Mario; Catara,Antonino; Elena,Santiago F.; Rubio,Luis
Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) outbreaks were detected in Sicily island, Italy for the first time in 2002. To gain insight into the evolutionary forces driving the emergence and phylogeography of these CTV populations, we determined and analyzed the nucleotide sequences of the p20 gene from 108 CTV isolates collected from 2002 to 2009. Bayesian phylogenetic analysis revealed that mild and severe CTV isolates belonging to five different clades (lineages) were introduced in Sicily in 2002. Phylogeographic analysis showed that four lineages co-circulated in the main citrus growing area located in Eastern Sicily. However, only one lineage (composed of mild isolates) spread to distant areas of Sicily and was detected after 2007. No correlation was found between genetic variation and citrus host, indicating that citrus cultivars did not exert differential selective pressures on the virus. The genetic variation of CTV was not structured according to geographical location or sampling time, likely due to the multiple introduction events and a complex migration pattern with intense co- and re-circulation of different lineages in the same area. The phylogenetic structure, statistical tests of neutrality and comparison of synonymous and nonsynonymous substitution rates suggest that weak negative selection and genetic drift following a rapid expansion may be the main causes of the CTV variability observed today in Sicily. Nonetheless, three adjacent amino acids at the p20 N-terminal region were found to be under positive selection, likely resulting from adaptation events.