FIRST REPORT OF BLUEBERRY RED RINGSPOT VIRUS IN HIGHBUSH BLUEBERRY IN SERBIA
D. Jevremovic, A. Leposavic, S. Paunovic
The first survey for highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) viruses in Serbia, carried out from 2011 to 2013, did not reveal any major problem caused by these pathogens as most of the symptoms observed could not be ascribed to on-going virus infections. Nevertheless, the presence of red ringspots on the leaves of a few isolated plants of cv. Bluetta, reminiscent of Blueberry red ringspot virus (BRRV, genus Soymovirus) infections (Caruso and Ramsdell, 1995), prompted further investigations. To this aim, a total of 60 samples were collected from various Serbian locations and submitted to BRRV-specific tests. DNA was isolated from fresh leaves using the DNeasy plant mini kit (Qiagen, Germany) following the recommended protocol. Primer set RR-13/RR-14, designed to amplify a portion of the CP gene of the BRRV genome, was used for PCR amplification under the conditions described in the literature (Glasheen et al., 2002). BRRV was detected in two symptomatic plants of cv. Bluetta, therefore confirming field observations. Amplified DNA fragments of 487 bp were custom sequenced (Macrogen, Netherlands) and nucleotide sequences of these isolates were deposited in GenBank under the accession Nos. JX908370 and JX908371. BLAST analyses of these two PCR products revealed high levels of nucleotide identity (92.8-97.5%) with 19 sequences of BRRV available in GenBank. Serbian BRRV isolates appear closely related to the PDR-E isolate from Poland (accession No. JQ811996) as they share 97.5% common nucleotides. To our knowledge, this is the first report of BBRV in highbush blueberries in Serbia.