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Keywords:

  • Bean;
  • Begomovirus;
  • Geminiviridae;
  • genetic variability;
  • pepper;
  • pepper leafroll virus;
  • tomato

Abstract

The complete genome of a novel bipartite begomovirus (genus Begomovirus, family Geminiviridae) was cloned from a severely diseased yellow Peruvian chili pepper (Capsicum baccatum cv. Pendulum) plant collected in the department of La Libertad, Northern Peru and full-length sequenced. The two genomic components share a common region of 156 nucleotides with a 100% sequence identity. Analysis of the genome organisation and phylogenetic comparisons revealed that the virus is a typical New World begomovirus. The closest related begomovirus, an isolate of Tomato yellow vein streak virus (ToYVSV), shared only 76.8% nucleotide sequence identity for the DNA-A component. Therefore, following species demarcation criteria of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, this virus isolate belongs to a new begomovirus species for which the name pepper leafroll virus (PepLRV) is proposed. Pepper plants infected with the cloned PepLRV isolate developed leaf roll symptoms similar to those observed in field-infected plants suggesting this virus as the causal agent of the disease syndrome observed in the field. Widespread occurrence of PepLRV throughout Peru was demonstrated, infecting plants of diverse cultivated species such as tomato, pepper, common and pallar beans, and of the weed species Nicandra physaloides. Low genetic diversity was observed among PepLRV isolates present in this country with no evident geographical or temporal structure of the population, typical of a recent founder effect. This is the first report of a begomovirus infecting pepper and bean crops in Peru.