To determine which factors can affect biological expression of the Y satellite RNA of cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) in tomato, three laboratoires collaboratively exchanged their natural satellite variants, the corresponding recombinant DNA clones and helper virus strains, as well as tomato varieties, on which different observations previously reported were based. The effects of these materials and the influence of temperature on symptom expression were systematically studied. The results show that in a standardized tomato bioassay at 24 °C, the Y satellite, when supported by either CMV-1 or CMV-Y, did not induce tomato necrosis in the Rutgers variety but elicited a slower necrotic response in the Best of All variety that was variably lethal, as compared to the faster inevitably lethal response induced by a prototype necrogenic D satellite variant in both tomato varieties. At higher temperatures (26·5 to 32 °C) an extremely fast-killing necrosis caused by CMV-Y itself was observed. The study demonstrates that in experiments on virus symptom modulation induced by CMV satellites, the nature of the helper virus, host plant varieties, as well as the environmental conditions should be precisely defined, and the effects of each parameter change determined separately.


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