Sequence diversity among badnavirus isolates infecting black pepper and related species in India.
The badnavirus, piper yellow mottle virus (PYMoV) is known to infect black pepper (Piper nigrum), betelvine (P. betle) and Indian long pepper (P. longum) in India and other parts of the world. Occurrence of PYMoV or other badnaviruses in other species of Piper and its variability is not reported so far. We have analysed sequence variability in the conserved putative reverse transcriptase (RT)/ribonuclease H (RNase H) coding region of the virus using specific badnavirus primers from 13 virus isolates of black pepper collected from different cultivars and regions and one isolate each from 23 other species of Piper. Of these, four species failed to produce expected amplicon while amplicon from four other species showed more similarities to plant sequences than to badnaviruses. Of the remaining, isolates from black pepper, P. argyrophyllum, P. attenuatum, P. barberi, P. betle, P. colubrinum, P. galeatum, P. longum, P. ornatum, P. sarmentosum and P. trichostachyon showed an identity of >85% at the nucleotide and >90% at the amino acid level with PYMoV indicating that they are isolates of PYMoV. On the other hand high sequence variability of 21-43% at nucleotide and 17-46% at amino acid level compared to PYMoV was found among isolates infecting P. bababudani, P. chaba, P. peepuloides, P. mullesua and P. thomsonii suggesting the presence of new badnaviruses. Phylogenetic analyses showed close clustering of all PYMoV isolates that were well separated from other known badnaviruses. This is the first report of occurrence of PYMoV in eight Piper spp. and likely occurrence of four new species in five Piper spp.