Evidence for Lettuce big-vein associated virus as the causal agent of a syndrome of necrotic rings and spots in lettuce


E-mail: martin.verbeek@wur.nl


Lettuce big-vein associated virus (LBVaV, genus Varicosavirus) was shown to be responsible for characteristic necrotic symptoms observed in combination with big-vein symptoms in lettuce breeding lines when tested for their susceptibility to lettuce big-vein disease (BVD) using viruliferous Olpidium virulentus spores in a nutrient film technique (NFT) system. Lettuce plants showing BVD are generally infected by two viruses: Mirafiori lettuce big-vein virus (MiLBVV, genus Ophiovirus) and LBVaV. New mechanical inoculation methods were developed to separate the two viruses from each other and to transfer both viruses to indicator plants and lettuce. After mechanical inoculation onto lettuce plants MiLBVV induced vein-band chlorosis, which is the characteristic symptom of BVD. LBVaV caused a syndrome of necrotic spots and rings which was also observed earlier in lettuce plants inoculated in the NFT system, resembling symptoms described for lettuce ring necrosis disease (RND). This observation is in contrast with the idea that LBVaV only causes latent infections in lettuce. De novo next-generation sequencing demonstrated that LBVaV was the only pathogen present in a mechanically inoculated lettuce plant with symptoms, providing evidence that LBVaV was the causal agent of the observed necrotic syndrome and thus fulfilling Koch’s postulates for this virus. The necrotic syndrome caused by LBVaV in lettuce is referred to as LBVaV-associated necrosis (LAN).