First record of Ranunculus white mottle virus from Australia

In 2004, a vein yellowing disease of soil-grown greenhouse capsicum was observed in southern Australia. Symptoms were similar to those of pepper yellow vein disease, a suspected viral disease of capsicum transmitted by soilborne Olpidium species. Disease symptoms were apparent on young plants and faded as the plant matured. In 2008, the disease was again detected in this region and was graft-transmitted to four capsicum plants which developed vein-yellowing symptoms. This isolate and a sample lyophilised in 2004 were tested by RT-PCR using the OP1 and OP2 primers specific for RNA-1 of the genus Ophiovirus. RT-PCR amplicons of the expected size were obtained from the suspected virus-infected samples but not from healthy capsicum.

A larger amplicon was amplified using the OP2 primer and a newly designed degenerate genus-specific primer OP3 in RT-PCR. The product was amplified from isolate 1631 and the amplicons cloned. Four clones were sequenced, and all were identical. This sequence was 97.5% identical to that of Ranunculus white mottle virus using a pairwise nucleotide sequence alignment. ICTV criteria for classifying Ophiovirus species are based on coat protein sequence, however, there are no RWMV coat protein sequences available for comparison. Based on available sequence, the virus is identified as RWMV.

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