Frequent asymptomatic infection with tobacco ringspot virus on melon fruit.
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Melon is one of the most popular fruits worldwide and has been bred into various cultivars. RNA-sequencing using healthy melon fruit was performed to determine differences in gene expression among cultivars. Unexpected RNA-seq results revealed that viruses asymptomatically infected fruits at a high frequency (16 of 21 fruits examined were infected) and that viral transcripts highly accumulated in comparison with host transcripts (15 %-75 % of total reads). Their nucleotide sequences and phylogenetic analyses indicated that more than 10 novel isolates of tobacco ringspot virus (TRSV) were found in melon fruits. Asymptomatic infection with TRSV on melon fruits was confirmed by both immunoblot and RT-PCR analyses. Numerous isolates of TRSV generated and maintained in melon fields, and this is likely due to their asymptomatic infections. This TRSV melon isolate infected Nicotiana benthamiana plants with stunting and yellowing symptoms. This is the first report of frequent and asymptomatic infection of TRSV in consumable melon fruits.