DOI: 10.3390/v15081774 ISSN:

Seed Transmission of Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus and Triticum Mosaic Virus in Differentially Resistant Wheat Cultivars

Saurabh Gautam, Senthilraja Chinnaiah, Benjamin Herron, Fekede Workneh, Charles M. Rush, Kiran R. Gadhave
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

Wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV) and Triticum mosaic virus (TriMV) are important viral pathogens of wheat in the Great Plains. These viruses individually or in mixed infections with High Plains wheat mosaic virus cause a devastating wheat streak mosaic (WSM) disease. Although seed transmission of WSMV has been studied, no information is currently available on that of TriMV. Furthermore, no study has explored the implications of mixed infections of WSMV and TriMV on seed transmission of one or both viruses. To study both aspects, seeds from differentially resistant field-grown wheat plants (cv. TAM 304 (susceptible), Joe (WSMV resistant, Wsm2 gene), and Breakthrough (BT) (WSMV and TriMV resistant, Wsm1 gene)) showing characteristic WSM symptoms were collected and analyzed to quantify both viruses using qRT-PCR. The percentage of seeds tested positive for WSMV or TriMV individually and in mixed infection varied with cultivar and virus combinations; 13% of TAM 304 seeds tested positive for WSMV, followed by 8% of BT and 4% of Joe seeds. Similarly, TriMV was detected in 12% of BT seeds, followed by 11% of TAM 304 and 8% of Joe seeds. Lastly, mixed infection was detected in 7% of TAM 304 seeds, followed by 4% in BT, and 2% in Joe. Dissection of field-collected seeds into three parts, embryo, endosperm, and seed coat, revealed both WSMV and TriMV accumulated only in the seed coat. Consistent with seeds, percent infection of WSMV or TriMV in the plants that emerged from infected seeds in each treatment varied with cultivar and virus combinations (WSMV: BT 3%; Joe 2%; TAM 304 9%; TriMV: BT 7%; Joe 8%; and TAM 304 10%). Plants infected with mixed viruses showed more pronounced WSM symptoms compared to individual infections. However, both viruses were present only in a few plants (BT: 2%, Joe: 1%, and TAM 304: 4%). Taken together, this study showed that TriMV was transmitted vertically at a higher frequency than WSMV in resistant cultivars, and the seed transmission of TriMV with WSMV increased the virulence of both pathogens (measured via WSM symptom severity) in the emerged plants. Furthermore, Wsm1 and Wsm2 genes considerably reduced WSMV transmission via infected seeds. However, no such effects were observed on TriMV, especially in progeny plants. These results reiterated the importance of planting clean seeds and highlighted the immediate need to identify/develop new sources of TriMV resistance to effectively manage the recurring WSM epidemic.

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