K. Caglayan, E. Elci, C. Ulubas Serce, K. Kaya, M. Gazel, V. Medina
doi: 10.4454/JPP.FA.2012.064
Fig leaves showing typical fig mosaic symptoms on cv. Bursa siyahi (donor plant) were cut under a stereo microscope into small pieces each hosting 10 putatively viruliferous eriophyid mites (Aceria ficus Cotte) and placed directly on the top leaves of healthy Cucumis sativus, Chenopodium quinoa. C. amaranticolor, Nicotiana occidentalis, Catharanthus roseus, Fraxinus excelsior plants, and fig seedlings. Donor and test plants were analyzed by electron microscopy, RT-PCR and sequencing, whereas the mites (ErMs) underwent molecular assays using Fig mosaic virus (FMV)-specific primers. Mite-infested leaves of fig seedlings and C. roseus showed small yellowish spots after 10 days and 6 weeks, respectively, whereas no symptoms were observed in other test or control plants for three months. Electron microscopy observations showed the occurrence of double membrane bodies (DMBs) in the palisade cells of donor and mite-inoculated fig plants, but not in C. roseus. However, 302 bp RT-PCR products specific to FMV were amplified from donor and inoculated figs, C. roseus and ErMs. Nucleotide identity with the sequence of the FMV isolate in GenBank (accession No. AM941711.6) was 87%, 89% and 87% for donor plant (JQ708183), inoculated fig seedlings (JQ708184) and C. roseus (JQ408437, JQ408438), respectively. The sequences obtained from ErMs (JQ408432, JQ408436) showed 87% and 88% nucleotide identity with the reference FMV isolate, respectively. When dsRNA extracts were analyzed to confirm virus presence in inoculated periwinkles, a complex dsRNA profile was obtained, suggestive of infection by a multipartite virus or by multiple viruses. Sequence from RT-PCR amplicons of dsRNA (JX040436) showed 88% identity with those the reference FMV isolate (AM941716.1) and the donor plant (JQ708183). According to these results, Madagascar periwinkle (C. roseus) can be retained as a new experimental host for FMV and A. ficus appears to be able to transmit FMV from fig to periwinkle plants.