• by Todd C. Wehner
  • Department of Horticultural Science
  • North Carolina State University
  • Raleigh, NC 27695-7609

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) is affected by various different viruses. These include Cucumber Mosaic virus, Papaya Ringspot virus, Watermelon Mosaic virus, and Zucchini Yellow Mosaic virus.

New viruses appear and cause problems in cucumber. One example is Tobacco Streak virus (TSV), a member in the genus Illavirus. It is widespread around the world and infects many families of plants, including plants in the Cucurbitaceae. It is transmitted by mechanical transmission, grafting and insects (thrips). It can also be seed-borne and transmitted through pollen in several plant systems, perhaps including cucumber. Krishnareddy et al. reported Tobacco Streak virus on cucumber in India (see below). TSV has not been reported on other cucurbits in India yet. TSV is a serious problem on cucumbers in India. TSV has not been reported on cucumber in the U.S. yet.

Outbreak of Tobacco streak virus Causing Necrosis of Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) and Gherkin (Cucumis anguria) in India. M. Krishnareddy, Devaraj, Lakshmi Raman, Salil Jalali, and D. K. Samuel, Division of Plant Pathology, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Hessaraghatta Lake PO, Bangalore-560089, India. Plant Dis. 87:1264, 2003; published on-line as D-2003-0804-03N, 2003. Accepted for publication 6 June 2003.

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) and Gherkin (Cucumis anguria L.) are important cucurbitaceous vegetables grown in India for slicing and pickling. During the 2000 to 2002 rainy season and summer, a new virus disease, causing yield losses of 31 to 75% in Bangalore, Bellary, Davanagiree, and Tumkur districts of Karnataka State, infected cucumber and gherkin. Symptoms were tip necrosis characterized by necrotic lesions on leaves, and a general leaf and stem necrosis extending to mid veins, petioles, flower buds and tip, eventually resulting in dieback of vines. Tissue extracts from symptomatic leaves of cucumber and gherkin were mechanically inoculated on several herbaceous indicator plants (cowpea, cucumber, pepper, Zinnia, watermelon, Chenopodium amaranticolor, sunflower, Nicotiana glutinosa, N. tabacum, and Gomphrena globosa). On most hosts, symptoms of chlorotic or necrotic lesions followed by mottle or systemic necrosis were observed. Back-inoculation from the symptomatic indicator plants onto cucumber and gherkin resulted in symptoms typical of those observed in the field. Electron microscopic examination of leaf-dip preparation and ultra thin sections of virus infected plant samples showed the presence of isometric particles 25 to 28 nm in diameter. Similar types of particles were observed when infected samples were trapped in immunosorbent electron microscopy with polyclonal antibodies specific to Tobacco Streak virus (TSV) but not to Watermelon silver mottle virus (WSMV). Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay tests using leaf extracts of field-collected samples and sap-inoculated plants showed positive reaction to antibodies of TSV (1) but not to antibodies of Cucumber mosaic virus, WSMV, Watermelon bud necrosis virus, Papaya ring spot virus W strain, and Zucchini yellow mosaic virus. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) of RNA extracts of infected samples of field and inoculated symptomatic plants was done by using primers derived from TSV RNA3 specific for the coat protein (CP) region of TSV (2). A 800-bp specific DNA fragment was amplified from infected cucumber and gherkin but not from healthy control plants. Sequence analysis of cloned PCR fragments revealed nucleotide identities of 99% with TSV isolates from cotton, mungbean, sunnhemp, and sunflower (GenBank Accessions Nos. AF515824, AF515823, AF515825, and AY061929) and 88% with TSV-WC (GenBank Accession No. X00435). On the basis of host range, serological relationship, electron microscopy, and sequence analysis of the CP region, the virus was identified as a strain of TSV. To our knowledge, this is the first report of natural occurrence of TSV on cucumber and gherkin in India.

References: (1). A. I. Bhat et al. Arch. Virol. 147:651, 2002. (2). B. J. C. Cornelissen et al. Nucleic Acids Res.12:2427, 1984.