Detection and characterisation of Plum pox virus (PPV) isolates from Eastern Slovakia revealed the presence of three main viral strains.
Keywords:Prunus, virus, RT-PCR, strain, diversity
Plum pox virus (PPV), the agent responsible for Sharka disease, is the most important viral pathogen of stone fruit trees world-wide, having an endemic status in Slovakia. To increase knowledge of PPV diversity in Slovakia, a set of 11 isolates, originated from the eastern part of the country, was characterised. The isolates were chip-budded from their original Prunus hosts to the susceptible GF305 indicators, exhibiting the symptoms of variable severity. A genomic region encompassing the partial NIb and the hypervariable 5´terminal region of the CP gene was amplified from all 11 isolates in RT-PCR and directly sequenced. The phylogenetic analysis revealed the grouping of the 11 Slovak isolates into 3 distinct clusters, representing the PPV-M (2 isolates), D (7 isolates) and Rec strains (2 isolates). The strain affiliation of isolates was further confirmed by strain-specific RT-PCR, using which the presence of additional mixed infection by minor PPV variants was detected in 2 samples. The results further contribute to the understanding of PPV diversity in Slovakia and confirm the specificity and sensitivity of molecular approaches used for the virus strain determination.
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