Zucchini yellow mosaic virus Genomic Sequences from Papua New Guinea: Lack of Genetic Connectivity with Northern Australian or East Timorese Genomes, and New Recombination Findings

Solomon Maina, Martin J. Barbetti, Owain R. Edwards, David Minemba, Michael W. Areke, Roger A. C. Jones

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Zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV) isolates were obtained in Papua New Guinea (PNG) from cucumber (Cucumis sativus) or pumpkin (Cucurbita spp.) plants showing mosaic symptoms growing at Kongop in the Mount Hagen District, Western Highlands Province, or Zage in the Goroka District, Eastern Highlands Province. The samples were blotted onto FTA cards, which were sent to Australia, where they were subjected to high-throughput sequencing. When the coding regions of the nine new ZYMV genomic sequences found were compared with those of 64 other ZYMV sequences from elsewhere, they grouped together, forming new minor phylogroup VII within ZYMV's major phylogroup A. Genetic connectivity was lacking between ZYMV genomic sequences from PNG and its neighboring countries, Australia and East Timor; the closest match between a PNG and any other genomic sequence was a 92.8% nucleotide identity with a sequence in major phylogroup A's minor phylogroup VI from Japan. When the RDP5.2 recombination analysis program was used to compare 66 ZYMV sequences, evidence was obtained of 30 firm recombination events involving 41 sequences, and all isolates from PNG were recombinants. There were 21 sequences without recombination events in major phylogroup A, whereas there were only 4 such sequences within major phylogroup B. ZYMV's P1, Cl, N1a-Pro, P3, CP, and NIb regions contained the highest evidence of recombination breakpoints. Following removal of recombinant sequences, seven minor phylogroups were absent (I, III, IV, V, VI, VII, and VIII), leaving only minor phylogroups II and IX. By contrast, when a phylogenetic tree was constructed using recombinant sequences with their recombinationally derived tracts removed before analysis, five previous minor phylogroups remained unchanged within major phylogroup A (II, III, IV, V, and VII) while four formed two new merged phylogroups (I/VI and VIII/IX). Absence of genetic connectivity between PNG, Australian, and East Timorese ZYMV sequences, and the 92.8% nucleotide identity between a PNG sequence and the closest sequence from elsewhere, suggest that a single introduction may have occurred followed by subsequent evolution to adapt to the PNG environment. The need for enhanced biosecurity measures to protect against potentially damaging virus movements crossing the seas separating neighboring countries in this region of the world is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1326-1336
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Disease
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

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