The Oman strain of Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV-OM) and its associated betasatellite, an isolate of Tomato leaf curl betasatellite (ToLCB), were previously reported from Oman. Here we report the isolation of a second, previously undescribed, begomovirus [Tomato leaf curl Oman virus (ToLCOMV)] and an alphasatellite from that same plant sample. This alphasatellite is closely related (90% shared nucleotide identity) to an unusual DNA-2-type Ageratum yellow vein Singapore alphasatellite (AYVSGA), thus far identified only in Singapore. ToLCOMV was found to have a recombinant genome comprising sequences derived from two extant parents, TYLCV-OM, which is indigenous to Oman, and Papaya leaf curl virus from the Indian subcontinent. All possible combinations of ToLCOMV, TYLCV-OM, ToLCB and AYVSGA were used to agro-inoculate tomato and Nicotiana benthamiana. Infection with ToLCOMV yielded mild leaf-curl symptoms in both hosts; however, plants inoculated with TYLCV-OM developed more severe symptoms. Plants infected with ToLCB in the presence of either helper begomovirus resulted in more severe symptoms. Surprisingly, symptoms in N. benthamiana infected with the alphasatellite together with either of the helper viruses and the betasatellite were attenuated and betasatellite DNA accumulation was substantially reduced. However, in the latter plants no concomitant reduction in the accumulation of helper virus DNA was observed. This is the first example of an attenuation of begomovirus-betasatellite symptoms by this unusual class of alphasatellites. This observation suggests that some DNA-2 alphasatellites encode a pathogenicity determinant that may modulate begomovirus-betasatellite infection by reducing betasatellite DNA accumulation.
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