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Abstract

Turtlegrass virus X, which infects the seagrass , is the only potexvirus known to infect marine flowering plants. We investigated potexvirus distribution in seagrasses using a degenerate reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay originally designed to capture potexvirus diversity in terrestrial plants. The assay, which implements Potex-5 and Potex-2RC primers, successfully amplified a 584 nt RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) fragment from TVX-infected seagrasses. Following validation, we screened 74 opportunistically collected, apparently healthy seagrass samples for potexviruses using this RT-PCR assay. The survey examined the host species , , , , , and . Potexvirus PCR products were successfully generated only from samples and phylogenetic analysis of sequenced PCR products revealed five distinct TVX sequence variants. Although the RT-PCR assay revealed limited potexvirus diversity in seagrasses, the expanded geographic distribution of TVX shown here emphasizes the importance of future studies to investigate populations across its native range and understand how the observed fine-scale genetic diversity affects host-virus interactions.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • University of South Florida Research and Innovation (Award Proposal Enhancement Grant)
    • Principle Award Recipient: MyaBreitbart
  • National Science Foundation (Award OCE-2219547)
    • Principle Award Recipient: MyaBreitbart
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
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2024-06-18
2024-07-15
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