This study characterized Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) infecting pepper in Southwestern Nigeria with the aim of providing up-to-date information on the taxonomic subgroup(s) of the parading strains in the study area. Fifty pepper leaf samples with one or more symptoms of mottling, mosaic, necrosis, leaf distortion and stunting were collected from eight commercial farms across Southwestern Nigeria and screened for CMV using antigen coated plate enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ACP-ELISA). From the seropositive samples, four representative samples were selected, labelled PSWN1-4 before subjected to reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and nucleic acid sequencing using a pair of primers specific for the amplification of RNA 3 genomic fragment of CMV. These were followed by multiple nucleotide sequence alignment and phylogenetic estimations of the isolates alongside selected CMV strains that were reported in previous studies using the molecular evolutionary genetics analysis (MEGA) software. The result of the ACP-ELISA test revealed that 14 (28%) of the samples collected were positive for CMV infection. The resulting nucleotide sequences from RT-PCR revealed 98% nucleotide homologies with several corresponding sequences of CMV strains from the Genbank. Further analysis of the PSWN nucleotide sequences through multiple nucleotide sequence alignment revealed the absence of the EcoR1 restriction site found only within the examined genomic portion of RNA 3 of subgroup II strains. These features defined the detected isolates as subgroup I strains. Phylogenetic analysis and estimations of genetic distances, conclusively distinguished the pepper-infecting CMV isolates from Southwestern Nigeria as members of subgroups IA and IB, which are the most virulent subgroups.
Key words: Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV), pepper, Southwestern Nigeria.
BLAST, Basic alignment search tool; CMV, cucumber mosaic virus; EDTA, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid; ELISA, enzyme linked immunosorbent assay; PSV, peanut stunted virus; RT-PCR, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction; TAV, tomato aspermy virus.
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