Potato spindle tuber 'virus'
T. O. Diener
Plant Virology Laboratory, Plant Science Research Division, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, USA
W. B. Raymer
Campbell Institute for Agricultural Research, Cinnaminson, New Jersey 08077, USA
Martin (1922) and
Schultz & Folsom (1923).
- Potato Gothic virus (in part - Rev. appl. Mycol. 45: 1478)
- Tomato bunchy top virus (Rev. appl. Mycol. 11: 481)
An agent which appears to exist in the plant as free RNA; no protein-containing
particles have been reported. The RNA occurs in several states of aggregation; the
smallest infective molecule has a M. Wt of c. 50,000 daltons. It has a
restricted host range, mostly among the Solanaceae, and is transmitted in nature
mainly by foliage contact and by machinery. Widespread in temperate regions of
North America, and also occurs in the USSR and S. Africa.
Causes spindle tuber of potato and bunchy top of tomato
(Benson et al., 1965
Common in the potato-growing regions of northern and northeastern USA and
Canada and to an unknown extent in the USSR and South Africa. It has not been
reported from Western Europe.
Host Range and Symptomatology
The known hosts are mostly solanaceous species of the genera Capsicum,
Datura, Lycopersicon, Nicandra, Nicotiana, Petunia, Physalis
The agent has also been transmitted with difficulty to Gomphrena
(Amaranthaceae). It is easily transmitted by inoculation of sap
(OBrien & Raymer, 1964
though resistance to sap inoculation was found
in certain potato seedlings
(Manzer, Akeley & Merriam, 1964
- Solanum tuberosum (potato). Foliage symptoms are often obscure; the
plant may be severely stunted or not at all
stems are erect and leaves
form acute angles with them, the small leaflets often overlapping; from late
spring to mid-summer, foliage turns slate grey with dull leaf surface; tubers
are elongated with prominent bud scales (eyebrows) and may have severe growth
- Lycopersicon esculentum (tomato) cv. Rutgers or Sheyenne. Symptoms
show first in 10-14 days when plants are inoculated at the 2-4 leaf stage and
kept at 25-35°C
There is epinasty and rugosity of the new leaves
with stunting, followed by yellowing and necrosis of the midribs and lateral
veins of rugose leaflets, and stunting, rugosity, and bunchiness of the apical
(Raymer & OBrien, 1962)
- Solanum tuberosum cv. Saco or Lycopersicon esculentum cv.
- No local lesion host is known but preparations may be assayed by inoculating
various dilutions to Lycopersicon esculentum cv. Rutgers or Sheyenne plants
and determining the proportion systemically infected.
Schultz & Folsom (1923)
Unmottled curly dwarf strain of
Schultz & Folsom (1923).
same symptoms as the type strain in tomato plants but more severe growth cracking
of potato tubers
Singh, Finnie & Bagnall, 1970).
less severe stunting, rugosity, and necrosis of tomato plants than does the type
strain. Produce few or no symptoms in infected tomato plants grown in low light
intensities during winter months.
Transmission by Vectors
Reported to be transmitted by two species of aphids
(Schultz & Folsom, 1925
and by grasshoppers, flea beetles, tarnished plant bug, leaf beetle, and
Colorado potato beetle
New studies of vector transmission are needed
to confirm these reports now that it is known how easily this agent is spread by
foliage contact and by machinery
(Bonde & Merriam, 1951
Manzer & Merriam, 1961
Transmission through SeedMcClean (1948)
reported transmission through seed of Physalis peruvianum
and one species of Solanum.
Hunter, Darling & Beale (1969)
Fernow, Peterson & Plaisted (1970)
found that potato progeny can
be infected either through the pollen or the ovule, and that 0-100% of the seed
may be infected. This is the only virus infecting potato known to be
seed-transmitted. Seed-transmission in tomato has also been reported
SerologyAllington, Ball & Galvez (1964)
Ball, Allington & Galvez (1964)
reported that one strain of potato spindle tuber virus reacted with antiserum
potato virus X
However, these reports have not been confirmed, and it now
seems possible that the plants used for these experiments contained potato virus
X as a contaminant.
Singh & Bagnall (1968)
reported a suspected viral antigen
in tomato and potato plants infected with potato spindle tuber virus was a plant
component. There is no confirmed report of an antiserum to the potato spindle tuber
This virus has not been shown to be related to any other virus, though the
causal agents of
chrysanthemum stunt diseases
have some similar
(Semancik & Weathers, 1968
Stability in Sap
In extracts from potato leaves in 0.2 M NaCl, the thermal inactivation point
(10 min) is between 75 and 80°C, dilution end-point between 10-2
. In phenol-treated preparations, the thermal inactivation point
(10 min) is between 90 and 100°C, dilution end-point between 10-3
(Singh & Bagnall, 1968
Infective material is most efficiently extracted by grinding infected tissue in
0.1-0.5 M potassium phosphate buffers at pH 7.5-9.0. The extracts are clarified by
shaking with a mixture of chloroform and n
(Raymer & Diener, 1969
and fractionated by centrifuging through density gradients to give infective material,
some sedimenting very slowly (8-12 S) and smaller amounts sedimenting more
rapidly (20-200 S)
(Diener & Raymer, 1967
fractionation the preparation may be treated with phenol, when the infectivity is
(Raymer & Diener, 1969
(Singh & Bagnall, 1968
Phenol treatment does not affect the sedimentation properties of the infective
(Diener & Raymer, 1967
The RNA can be further purified by treatment with DNase, followed by
chromatography on columns of methylated serum albumin, CF-cellulose
(Diener & Raymer, 1969),
but such preparations
still consist predominantly of host RNA
Properties of Infective Nucleic Acid
Although infective material that sediments at the same rates as the
nucleoproteins of viruses is present in extracts from infected tissue, several
lines of evidence indicate that this material is free RNA
No virus-like particles have been seen in thin sections of infected tissue (R. H.
Lawson, pers. comm.); and analyses of proteins in infected and healthy plants gave
no evidence for the production of coat proteins
(Zaitlin & Hariharasubramanian, 1970
The infective agent is sensitive to treatment with RNase, but not with DNase
(Diener & Raymer, 1967,
Singh & Bagnall, 1968).
hydroxyapatite columns indicates that the infective RNA is single-stranded. It is
resistant to attack by exonucleases (either snake venom or bovine spleen
phosphodiesterases) alone or in conjunction with alkaline phosphatase
These properties and electron microscopy
(Diener & Koller, unpublished)
indicate that the molecule may be circular. Polyacrylamide gel
electrophoresis indicates a M. Wt of c. 50,000 daltons for the smallest
Preparations of the infective agent
have extremely high specific infectivity.
Relations with Cells and Tissues
In tissue extracts the infective RNA is exclusively associated with nuclei
(and/or nucleoli) of infected cells
(Diener & Raymer, 1969
All tissues appear to be infected, but the greatest infectivity is extracted from
young, actively growing tissues.
In certain potato cultivars, high soil temperatures induce tuber symptoms that
can be confused with those of potato spindle tuber virus
(Goss & Peltier, 1925
and some potato cultivars infected with potato spindle tuber virus
develop vascular necrosis of the stems and leaf petioles similar to that induced
potato virus Y
- Allington, Ball & Galvez, Pl. Dis. Reptr 48: 597, 1964.
- Ball, Allington & Galvez, Phytopathology 54: 887, 1964.
- Benson, Raymer, Smith, Jones & Munro, Potato Handb. 10: 32, 1965.
- Bonde & Merriam, Am. Potato J. 28: 558, 1951.
- Diener, Phytopathology 60: 1014, 1970a.
- Diener, Phytopathology 60: 1289, 1970b.
- Diener, Virology 43: 75, 1971a.
- Diener, Virology 45: 411, 1971b.
- Diener & Raymer, Science, N.Y. 158: 378, 1967.
- Diener & Raymer, Virology 37: 351, 1969.
- Fernow, Phytopathology 57: 1347, 1967.
- Fernow, Peterson & Plaisted, Am. Potato J. 47: 75, 1970.
- Goss, Agric. Res. Bull. Neb. agric. Exp. Stn 53: 36 pp., 1931.
- Goss & Peltier, Agric. Res. Bull. Neb. agric. Exp. Stn 29: 32 pp., 1925.
- Hunter, Darling & Beale, Am. Potato J. 46: 247, 1969.
- Lawson, Phytopathology 58: 885, 1968.
- Manzer & Merriam, Am. Potato J. 38: 346, 1961.
- Manzer, Akeley & Merriam, Am. Potato J. 41: 411, 1964.
- Martin, Hints to Potato Growers, New Jers. St. Potato Assoc. 3: 8, 1922.
- McClean, Sci. Bull. Dep. Agric. S. Afr. 256: 28 pp., 1948.
- O'Brien & Raymer, Phytopathology 54: 1045, 1964.
- Raymer & O'Brien, Am. Potato J. 39: 401, 1962.
- Raymer & Diener, Virology 37: 343, 1969.
- Schultz & Folsom, J. agric. Res. 25: 43, 1923.
- Schultz & Folsom, J. agric. Res. 30: 493, 1925.
- Semancik & Weathers, Virology 36: 326, 1968.
- Singh, Ph.D. Thesis, N. Dak. St. Univ., 1966.
- Singh, Am. Potato J. 47: 225, 1970.
- Singh & Bagnall, Phytopathology 58: 696, 1968.
- Singh, Finnie & Bagnall, Am. Potato J. 47: 289, 1970.
- Zaitlin & Hariharasubramanian, Phytopathology 60: 1537, 1970.
Photographs: Courtesy of US Department of Agriculture.
Foliage symptoms in Solanum tuberosum cv. Irish Cobbler.
Healthy plant at left.
Distribution of UV absorbance and infectivity in centrifuged density
gradient columns containing extracts from (a) healthy and (b) infected tissue.
Gradients were linear, 0.2-0.8 M sucrose in 0.02 M phosphate buffer, pH 7.0,
and were centrifuged for 16 h at 50,000 g.
Tuber symptoms in Solanum tuberosum. (Upper row) cv. Saco;
(lower row) cv. Kennebec. (Left) healthy; (centre) infected
with the type strain; (right) infected with the unmottled curly dwarf
Symptoms in Lycopersicon esculentum cv. Rutgers, 14 days after
Symptoms in Lycopersicon esculentum cv. Rutgers, 30 days after inoculation.