Infectious cDNA clones of the crinivirus Tomato chlorosis virus are competent for systemic plant infection and whitefly-transmission.

PMID 25113907


Tomato chlorosis virus (ToCV) (genus Crinivirus, family Closteroviridae) causes important emergent diseases in tomato and other solanaceous crops. ToCV is not transmitted mechanically and is naturally transmitted by whiteflies. The ToCV genome consists of two molecules of linear, positive-sense RNA encapsidated into long flexuous virions. We present the construction of full-length cDNA clones of the ToCV genome (RNA1 and RNA2) fused to the SP6 RNA polymerase promoter and under the control of the CaMV 35S promoter. RNA1 replicated in the absence of RNA2 in Nicotiana benthamiana and tomato protoplasts after inoculation with cDNA-derived in vitro transcripts. Agroinfiltration of RNA1 and RNA2 under the 35S promoter resulted in systemic infection in N. benthamiana plants. In addition, tomato plants were infected by grafting with agroinfected N. benthamiana scions, showing the typical ToCV symptoms. The viral progeny generated in tomato was transmissible by the whitefly Bemisia tabaci.