First report of watermelon crinkle leaf-associated virus 1 (WCLaV-1) and WCLaV-2 in watermelon (Citrullus lanatus L.) plants co-infected with Cucurbit chlorotic yellows virus in Florida. Academic Article uri icon


  • Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus L.) and other cucurbits are major crops in Florida. During the 2020 and 2021 seasons, watermelon plants with foliar virus-like symptoms of yellow mottling and chlorosis, mild leaf wrinkling and thickened leaves were observed in commercial fields (40 to 150 ha) in five counties (Desoto, Glades, Osceola, Seminole, and Charlotte) at >50% field incidence. Initial screening of 13 field-collected samples (2 to 4/County) for potyviruses with the Agdia POTY Immunostrip (Agdia, Inc. Elkhart, IN) were negative. Total nucleic acid extracts from each sample (RNeasy Plant Mini Kit, Qiagen, Germantown, MD) were used in one-step RT-PCR (Qiagen OneStep RT-PCR kit) with species-specific primer targeting squash vein yellowing virus (SqVYV), papaya ringspot virus-W (PRSV-W) (Adkins et al., 2008), cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV) (Polston et al. 2008), cucurbit chlorotic yellows virus (CCYV) (Hernandez et al., 2021a), watermelon crinkle leaf-associated virus 1 (WCLaV-1), and WCLaV-2 (Hernandez et al., 2021b). The samples were also tested for cucurbit leaf crumple virus (CuLCrV) as per Hagen et al. (2008). All 13 samples were negative for SqVYV, PRSV-W, CuLCrV, and CYSDV, but 7 samples (53.8%) from 4 counties tested positive for CCYV, 12 (92.3%) from 5 counties were positive for WCLaV-1, and WCLaV-2 was detected in 8 samples (61.5%) from 5 counties. Three samples were singly infected with WCLaV-1 while the remaining 10 were mixed infected with different combination of 2 or 3 viruses. Notably, symptoms on all 13 plants were visually indistinguishable. To verify the results, two randomly chosen gene-specific fragments per virus, obtained with primers CCYV-v1330/c2369, CCYV-v4881/c5736, WCLaV-1vRP/1cRP, WCLaV-1vMP/1cMP, WCLaV-2vRP/2cRP, and WLaV 2vMP/2cMP, were excised from the gel, cloned, and Sanger-sequenced as described (Hernandez et al., 2021a, 2021b). In pairwise comparisons, the ~1 kb partial ORF1a (GenBank accession nos. MZ325846 to MZ325847) and 753 bp complete coat protein cistron (MZ325848 to MZ325849) of CCYV from Florida shared 98.9-99.5%/98.4-99.6% nucleotide (nt)/amino acid (aa) and 99.4-99.8%/99.6-100% nt/aa identities, respectively with the corresponding sequences of global CCYV isolates. The partial RNA1 (MZ325850 to MZ325851) and RNA2 (MZ325852 to MZ325853) sequences of WCLaV-1 from Florida shared 99.2-99.8%/100% nt/aa and 98.9-100%/99.3-100% nt/aa identities, respectively with the corresponding global sequences of WCLaV-1 isolates. Lastly, the partial RNA1 (MZ325854 to MZ325857) and RNA2 (MZ325858 to MZ325861) sequences of WCLaV-2 from Florida shared 96.4-99.8%/97-100% nt/aa and 96.5-100%/95.9-100% nt/aa identities, respectively with the corresponding global sequences of WCLaV-2 isolates. This is the first report of WCLaV-1 and WCLaV-2 from Florida and the first documentation of the occurrence of CCYV in South Florida. CCYV has been reported previously from California (Wintermantel et al. 2019), Georgia (Kavalappara et al. 2021), and recently from North Florida (M. Paret, pers. comm) but WCLaV-1 and WCLaV-2 have only been reported from Texas (Hernandez et al., 2021b), after their discovery in China (Xin et al. 2017). The results indicate further expansion of the geographical range of these cucurbit-infecting viruses, although their longer but undetected presence in Florida is plausible due to the resemblance of their associated symptoms with those attributed to known viruses. References Adkins, et al., 2008. Plant Dis. 92:1119-1123. Hagen, et al. 2008. Plant Dis. 92:781-793. Hernandez, et al. 2021a. Plant Dis. Hernandez, et al., 2021b. Plant Dis. Kavalappara, et al., 2021. Plant Dis. Polston, et al. 2008. Plant Dis. 92(8):1251. Wintermantel, et al., 2019. Plant Dis. 103(4):778. Xin, et al., 2017. Front. Microbiol. 8:1514, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01514.

published proceedings

  • Plant Dis

altmetric score

  • 17

author list (cited authors)

  • Hendricks, K., Hernandez, R. N., Roberts, P., Isakeit, T., & Alabi, O. J.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Hendricks, Katherine||Hernandez, Regina Nicole||Roberts, Pamela||Isakeit, Thomas||Alabi, Olufemi Joseph

publication date

  • June 2021