Occurrence of putative endornaviruses in non-cultivated plant species in South Louisiana
Extraction and electrophoretic analysis of viral dsRNA from plants has been used successfully to detect infections by RNA viruses. We used this approach as an initial tool to test non-cultivated plant species for the presence of endornaviruses. Foliar samples were collected from symptomless plants in various locations within East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, USA, and tested for viral dsRNA. After testing 208 plant species belonging to 74 families, five (Geranium carolinianum, Hydrocotyle umbellata, H. prolifera, Sorghum halepense, and Sisyrinchium atlanticum) yielded dsRNAs similar in size to the dsRNAs of members of the family Endornaviridae. The endornavirus nature of the dsRNAs was confirmed by reverse-transcription PCR (RT-PCR) and sequencing the RT-PCR products. Sequence data were used to determine relationships of the putative endornaviruses to members of the family Endornaviridae. The putative endornaviruses were detected in both native and introduced plants species. This is the first survey on the occurrence of endornaviruses in non-cultivated plant species.