The A-strain of maize streak virus (MSV-A; genus Mastrevirus, family Geminiviridae), the causal agent of maize streak disease, places a major constraint on maize production throughout sub-Saharan Africa. In West-African countries such as Nigeria, where maize is not cultivated year-round, this MSV strain is forced to overwinter in non-maize hosts. In order to both identify uncultivated grasses that might harbour MSV-A during the winter season and further characterise the diversity of related maize-associated streak viruses, we collected maize and grass samples displaying streak symptoms in a number of Nigerian maize fields. From these we isolated and cloned 18 full mastrevirus genomes (seven from maize and 11 from various wild grass species). Although only MSV-A isolates were obtained from maize, both MSV-A and MSV-F isolates were obtained from Digitaria ciliaris. Four non-MSV African streak viruses were also sampled, including sugarcane streak Reunion virus and Urochloa streak virus (USV) from Eleusine coacana, USV from Urochloa sp., maize streak Reunion virus (MSRV) from both Setaria barbata and Rottboellia sp., and a novel highly divergent mastrevirus from Axonopus compressus, which we have tentatively named Axonopus compressus streak virus (ACSV). Besides the discovery of this new mastrevirus species and expanding the known geographical and host ranges of MSRV, we have added D. ciliaris to the list of uncultivated species within which Nigerian MSV-A isolates are possibly able to overwinter.
ASJC Scopus subject areas