A novel species of mastrevirus (family Geminiviridae) isolated from Digitaria didactyla grass from Australia

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Archives of Virology

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Springer Verlag


University of Cape Town

Mastreviruses (family Geminiviridae) that infect monocotyledonous plants occur throughout the temperate and tropical regions of Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia. Despite the identification of a very diverse array of mastrevirus species whose members infect African monocots, few such species have been discovered in other parts of the world. For example, the sequence of only a single monocot-infecting mastrevirus, Chloris striate mosaic virus (CSMV), has been reported so far from Australia, even though earlier biological and serological studies suggested that other distinct mastreviruses were present. Here, we have obtained the complete nucleotide sequence of a virus from the grass Digitaria didactyla originating from Australia. Analysis of the sequence shows the virus to be a typical mastrevirus, with four open reading frames, two in each orientation, separated by two noncoding intergenic regions. Although it showed the highest levels of sequence identity to CSMV (68.7%), their sequences are sufficiently diverse for the virus to be considered a member of a new species in the genus Mastrevirus, based on the present species demarcation criteria. We propose that the name first used during the 1980s be used for this species, Digitaria didactyla striate mosaic virus (DDSMV).