Passion fruit chlorotic mottle virus: Molecular characterization of a new divergent geminivirus in Brazil
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Brazil is one of the major passion fruit producers worldwide. Viral diseases are among the most important constraints for passion fruit production. Here we identify and characterize a new passion fruit infecting-virus belonging to the family Geminiviridae: passion fruit chlorotic mottle virus (PCMoV). PCMoV is a divergent geminivirus unlike previously characterized passion fruit-infecting geminiviruses that belonged to the genus Begomovirus. Among the presently known geminiviruses, it is most closely related to, and shares ~62% genome-wide identity with citrus chlorotic dwarf associated virus (CCDaV) and camelia chlorotic dwarf associated virus (CaCDaV). The 3743 nt PCMoV genome encodes a capsid protein (CP) and replication-associated protein (Rep) that respectively share 56 and 60% amino acid identity with those encoded by CaCDaV. The CPs of PCMoV, CCDaV, and CaCDaV cluster with those of begomovirus whereas their Reps with those of becurtoviruses. Hence, these viruses likely represent a lineage of recombinant begomo-like and becurto-like ancestral viruses. Furthermore, PCMoV, CCDaV, and CaCDaV genomes are ~12–30% larger than monopartite geminiviruses and this is primarily due to the encoded movement protein (MP; 891–921 nt) and this MP is most closely related to that encoded by the DNA-B component of bipartite begomoviruses. Hence, PCMoV, CCDaV, and CaCDaV lineage of viruses may represent molecules in an intermediary step in the evolution of bipartite begomoviruses (~5.3 kb) from monopartite geminiviruses (~2.7–3 kb). An infectious clone of PCMoV systemically infected Nicotiana benthamina, Arabidopsis thaliana, and Passiflora edulis.