First report of Sw-5 resistance-breaking strain of tomato spotted wilt orthotospovirus infecting tomato in Texas. Academic Article uri icon


  • Tomato spotted wilt orthotospovirus (TSWV) is one of the most devastating plant viruses causing crop disease epidemics of global economic significance. A single dominant resistant gene 'Sw-5' offering a broad-spectrum resistance to multiple orthotospoviruses was introduced in tomato cultivars. However, multiple resistance-breaking strains of TSWV were reported worldwide (Ciuffo 2005; Zaccardelli et al. 2008; Batuman et al. 2017; di Rienzo et al. 2018). Symptoms suggestive of orthotospoviral infection including stunting, bronzing, and inward rolling of leaves, and concentric necrotic spots on leaves, petioles, and fruits were observed in two TSWV-resistant tomato cultivars ('BL163' and 'HT 2') planted in a tomato variety trial in Bushland, TX in 2022. Leaf tissues from 45 resistant tomato plants (symptomatic or asymptomatic) from both resistant cultivars were tested using a TaqMan probe-based qPCR assay targeting a 200bp region in nucleoprotein (N) of the TSWV (Gautam et al. 2022). While 25 of those samples tested positive for TSWV, only ten expressed characteristic disease symptoms described above. The possibility of mixed infection in those samples with other endemic viruses in the region viz., alfalfa mosaic virus, groundnut ringspot orthotospovirus, tobacco mosaic virus, tomato chlorotic spot orthotospovirus, tomato mosaic virus, tomato necrotic streak virus, tomato ringspot virus, and tomato torrado virus was discounted through RT-PCR analysis (Kumar et al. 2011; Verbeek et al. 2012; Bratsch et al. 2018). To test the RB phenotype of the observed putative TSWV-RB strains, three-week-old tomato plants from eight commercially available TSWV resistant cultivars and one non-resistant cultivar (n=10 each) were mechanically inoculated with leaf tissues collected from a single symptomatic plant from one of the field-grown resistant cultivars. The experiment was replicated twice. Hypersensitive response was observed on all inoculated leaves of resistant plants one week post inoculation. Furthermore, all eight resistant cultivars started expressing local and systemic TSW symptoms 12 to 16 days post inoculation (dpi), while non-resistant cultivar started expressing symptoms at 9 dpi. TSW incidence across all resistant cultivars was 30-70%, while in susceptible cultivar it was 90%. Symptoms exhibited by all resistant cultivars resembled those of symptoms observed in field collected plants. The expression of Sw-5 gene in all eight resistant cultivars and the lack thereof in a susceptible cultivar was confirmed using Sw-5b specific primers and using Actin as a housekeeping gene in qRT-PCR (Islam et al. 2022). The RB strains in Sw-5 resistant tomato in California (Batuman et al. 2017) had the C118Y mutation in the TSWV NSm protein, consistent with the original reporting of C118Y or T120N RB mutations in 11 TSWV isolates from Spain (NCBI accession # HM015517 & HM015518) (Lopez et al. 2011). The nucleotide and amino acid sequence analysis of NSm gene from Bushland RB isolates from four resistant cultivars (NCBI accessions # OP810513-14 [field], OQ247901-05 [mechanically inoculated]) shared 98.9 and 99.4% homology with the Californian NSm sequences of TSWV RB tomato isolate (KX898453 and ASO67371), respectively. While the Nsm C118Y or T120N RB mutations were absent in all Bushland TSWV RB isolates, they had six additional unique point mutations across the NSm (I163V, P227Q, V290I, N293S, V294I, K296Q), which could potentially be responsible for resistance breaking. Despite the lack of C118Y or T120N RB mutations, Bushland isolates were capable of disrupting Sw-5-mediated TSWV resistance in all eight commercial resistant tomato cultivars. This study suggests a new or a different class of fundamental mechanisms are likely to be responsible for resistance breaking in Sw-5b resistant tomatoes. The new RB strain/s of TSWV therefore pose a substantial threat to tomato production in TX and other tomato-growing regions of the US.

published proceedings

  • Plant Dis

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Chinnaiah, S., Gautam, S., Workneh, F., Crosby, K., Rush, C., & Gadhave, K. R.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Chinnaiah, Senthilraja||Gautam, Saurabh||Workneh, Fekede||Crosby, Kevin||Rush, Charles||Gadhave, Kiran R

publication date

  • March 2023