Stem cuttings were collected in Cameroon from cassava plants displaying cassava mosaic disease (CMD) symptoms. The nature of the viruses present was determined by using the PCR with primers specific for the coat protein (CP) genes of African cassava mosaic virus (ACMV) and East African cassava mosaic virus (EACMV). All samples were infected by ACMV and eight of the 50 samples were infected by both ACMV and an EACMV-like virus. The complete nucleotide sequences of DNA-A and -B of representative ACMV and EACMV-like viruses were determined. The DNA-A component of the EACMV-like virus contained evidence of recombination in the AC2–AC3 region and DNA-B also contained evidence of recombination in BC1. However, both components retained gene arrangements typical of bipartite begomoviruses. When plants were doubly inoculated with these Cameroon isolates of ACMV and EACMV (ACMV/CM, EACMV/CM) by using sap from cassava plants or infectious clones, the symptoms were more severe than for plants inoculated with either virus alone. Southern blot analysis of viral DNAs from infected plants showed that there were significantly higher levels of accumulation of both ACMV/CM components and, to a lesser extent, of EACMV/CM components in mixed-infected plants than in singly infected plants. These results strongly suggest the occurrence of a synergistic interaction between the two viruses.


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