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Epidemiological Survey of Grapevine Leafroll-Associated Virus 1 and 3 in Sicily (Italy): Genetic Structure and Molecular Variability

  • Authors: Andrea Giovanni Caruso, Sofia Bertacca, Arianna Ragona, Slavica Matic, Salvatore Davino, Stefano Panno
  • Publication year: 2022
  • Type: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Background: the most widely distributed and virulent Grapevine leafroll-associated viruses (GLRaV) that affect grapevine are GLRaV-1 and GLRaV-3, transmitted semi-persistently by different mealybugs and soft scales, mainly causing downward rolling of the leaf margins and interveinal reddening. Methods: the main objectives of this study were to investigate the genetic structure and molecular diversity of GLRaV-1 and GLRaV-3 in 617 samples from 11 autochthonous Sicilian grapevine cultivars, ascertaining their presence and spread. The detection was implemented by serological and molecular analyses and subsequently phylogenetic analyses on selected Sicilian isolates were conducted. Results: in total, 33 and 138 samples resulted positive to GLRaV-1 and GLRaV-3, with an incidence of 5.34% and 22.36%, respectively; 9 out of the 11 cultivars resulted positive, while the presence of both viruses was not found in ‘Grillo’ and ‘Moscato’ cultivars. Conclusions: phylogenetic analyses of the coat protein (CP) gene of 12 GLRaV-1 selected sequences showed a close relationship with European isolates; the discrete nucleotide differentiation and positive selection could demonstrate a current increase in population fitness. The phylogenetic analyses of the CP gene of 31 GLRaV-3 Sicilian CP sequences demonstrates a close relationship between Sicilian and different countries isolates; a certain stability of GLRaV-3 in the different cultivars analyzed is suggested by the discrete differentiation nucleotide and negative selection of the Sicilian isolates.