T. Elbeaino, M. Chiumenti, A. De Stradis, M. Digiaro, A. Minafra, G.P. Martelli
doi: 10.4454/JPP.V95I1.001
Electron microscope observation of leaf dips from a mulberry (Morus alba) tree from Lebanon showing leaf mottling and vein yellowing, disclosed the presence of bacilliform particles ca. 150x30 nm in size, resembling those of members of the genus Badnavirus. BLAST analysis of the sequence of a DOP-PCR clone (810 bp) generated from DNA extracts from partially purified particle preparation, disclosed a 67% (nucleotide) and 63% (amino acid) identity with the reverse transcriptase/RNase H gene (ORF3) of the badnavirus Cacao swollen shoot virus (CSSV). In a phylogenetic tree constructed with the amino acid sequence obtained, the putative mulberry badnavirus clustered close to CSSV and Citrus mosaic virus (CiMV) in a branch comprising also Fig badnavirus 1 (FBV-1) and Dioscorea bacilliform Al virus (DBALV). PCR analyses showed that the virus occurs with high infection rates in Lebanon (7 out of 13 trees examined), Turkey (2 out of 3) and Italy (29 out of 39). However, except for one, all PCR-positive trees were symptomless. Thus, since there is no clear-cut association of the virus in question with a specific disease, we propose for it the provisional name of Mulberry badnavirus 1 (MBV-1).