Genetic diversity and evolutionary analysis of Citrus Tristeza Virus p20 gene in Pakistan: insights into the spread and epidemiology

Noor-Ul-Huda Ghori, Muhammad Qasim Hayat, Salvatore Davino


BackgroundCitrus tristeza virus (CTV) is a widespread disease and the most destruction causing agent of citrus. Pakistan is ranked amongst the top ten citrus producing countries around the globe and it contributes about 2% to its foreign exchange earnings. Based on this assumption it is very important to monitor and determine the evolutionary forces and the phylogeography of Pakistani CTV population.  

Methods: A total of 49 sequences of p20 gene from Pakistan were phylogenetically compared with CTV sequences worldwide. These sequences were analyzed for their genetic diversity and evolution using a Bayesian Probability approach and predicted secondary structure.

Results: Phylogenetic analysis using Bayesian probability inference and predicted secondary structures diversity of CTV indicated that Pakistani isolates were not diverse from global isolates. Lineage analysis showed that CTV was introduced in Pakistan in three individual events from various parts of the world.  After that CTV dispersed in Pakistan via vector transmission or by use of infected propagating material by local farmers.

Conclusions: Our study confirmed multiple introductions of CTV in Pakistan and also confirmed the dissemination of CTV within Pakistan. This study also shows that the mutations are present in the predicted secondary structure of the p20 protein, however, it is not known if it affects the pathogenicity of the virus.

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