Reactions of virions of the potyvirus wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV) with homologous antiserum in leaf-dips depended on the age of infection of the leaf. Virions from young and recently expanded leaves were completely or partially covered with immunoglobulin whereas virions from leaves infected earlier were not decorated. However, in ultrathin sections virions could be immunolabelled in leaves of all ages. These results suggest that the virions can be partially degraded upon extraction, particularly those from older leaves. Thus, a negative reaction with leaf-dip serology of a suspected WSMV infection does not in itself constitute evidence that the plant is not infected with WSMV. The same principle has implications for the routine serological identification of potyviruses in leaf-dips.

Keyword(s): leaf-dip , ultrathin section , WSMV and WSSMV

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