Strain differentiating marker profiles of citrus tristeza virus (CTV) isolates from California have shown the presence of multiple genotypes. To better define the genetic diversity involved, full-length genome sequences from four California CTV isolates were determined by small-interfering RNA sequencing. Phylogenetic analysis and nucleotide sequence comparisons differentiated these isolates into the genotypes VT (CA-VT-AT39), T30 (CA-T30-AT4), and a new strain called S1 (CA-S1-L and CA-S1-L65). S1 isolates had three common recombination events within portions of genes from VT, T36 and RB strains and were transmissible by Aphis gossypii. Virus indexing showed that CA-VT-AT39 could be classified as a severe strain, whereas CA-T30-AT4, CA-S1-L and CA-S1-L65 were mild. CA-VT-AT39, CA-S1-L, and CA-S1-L65 reacted with monoclonal antibody MCA13, whereas CA-T30-AT4 did not. RT-PCR and RT-qPCR detection assays for the S1 strain were developed and used to screen MCA13-reactive isolates in a CTV collection from central California collected from 1968 to 2011. Forty-two isolates were found to contain the S1 strain, alone or in combinations with other genotypes. BLAST and phylogenetic analysis of the S1 p25 gene region with other extant CTV sequences from the NCBI database suggested that putative S1-like isolates might occur elsewhere (e.g., China, South Korea, Turkey, Bosnia and Croatia). This information is important for CTV evolution, detection of specific strains, and cross-protection.
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