PROPERTIES OF A TOMBUSVIRUS THAT INFECTS COCONA SOLANUM SESSILIFLORUM IN THE PERUVIAN JUNGLE
T.A. Melgarejo, C.E. Fribourg, M. Russo
Cocona (Solanum sessiliflorum) is a native plant of the Amazon basin that is cultivated in Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil and Peru. From cocona plants in the Peruvian highland jungle showing stunting, leaf deformation and necrotic spots a virus was recovered after mechanical inoculation exhibiting isometric particles approximately 30 nm in diameter. This virus was biologically, serologically and partly molecularly characterized. It was transmitted by mechanical inoculation to 44 of 49 species in six different botanical families. Symptoms were primarily localized infections that resembled those elicited by tombusviruses. The virus was found by immunodiffusion analysis to be serologically related to several definitive tombusvirus species. A reaction of identity was found with Pear latent virus (PeLV), a recently described tombusvirus from Italy. The coat protein genes of the cocona virus isolate and PeLV showed a high degree of identity, i.e. 94% at the nucleotide level and 96% at the amino acid level.