Multiple citrus viroids in citrus from Japan and their ability to produce exocortis-like symptoms in citron.
Sequential polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analyses showed many viroid-like RNAs in samples collected from citrus trees in Japan. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and sequencing analyses of the amplified fragments verified that they were derived from variants of six citrus viroids, Citrus exocortis viroid (CEVd), Citrus bent leaf viroid (CBLVd) including CVd-I-LSS (a distinct variant of CBLVd), Hop stunt viroid, Citrus viroid III, Citrus viroid IV, and Citrus viroid OS. The samples induced symptoms with variable severity in Arizona 861-S1 'Etrog' citrons (Citrus medica L.) likely due to the varying accumulation patterns produced by the different viroids. Some of the symptoms caused by the samples harboring the citrus viroids other than CEVd were as severe as those caused by CEVd. Some source citrus trees showing the severe bark scaling characteristic of exocortis disease in trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.) rootstocks contained only citrus viroids other than CEVd in complex. This indicates that certain exocortis-like diseases in Japan were caused by some combination of citrus viroids not including CEVd.