Characterization of blueberry shock virus, an emerging ilarvirus in cranberry

Sara Thomas-Sharma, Lindsay Wells-Hansen, Rae Page, Victoria Kartanos, Erika Saalau-Rojas, Benham E.L. Lockhart, Patricia S. McManus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Blueberry shock virus (BlShV), an Ilarvirus sp. reported only on blueberry, was associated with scarring, disfigurement, and premature reddening of cranberry fruit. BlShV was detected by triple-antibody sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, and isometric virions of 25 to 28 nm were observed in cranberry sap. The virus was systemic, although unevenly distributed in plants. The coat protein of BlShV from cranberry shared 90% identity compared with BlShV accessions from blueberry on GenBank. Phylogenetic analysis of isolates of BlShV from cranberry collected from Wisconsin and Massachusetts did not indicate grouping by state. BlShV was detected in cranberry pollen, and seed transmission of up to 91% was observed. Artificial inoculation of cranberry flowers by pollination did not cause virus transmission. In some Nicotiana spp., rub inoculation of leaves with homogenized BlShV-positive cranberry flowers resulted in systemic infection. Cranberry plants recovered from symptoms the year after berry scarring occurred but continued to test positive for BlShV. The virus caused significant reduction in the average number of marketable fruit and average berry weight in symptomatic cranberry plants but recovered plants yielded comparably with healthy plants. Although recovery may limit the immediate economic consequences of BlShV, long-term implications of single- or mixed-virus infection in cranberry is unknown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-97
Number of pages7
JournalPlant disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments, cranberry growers who gave us access to their field sites for this study, T. German and R. Dasgupta for helpful discussions, M. Hughan for aid in sample collection and analysis, and M. Kamenetsky for help with statistical analysis. This research was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (project number 14-015), Wisconsin Cranberry Board, Inc., Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., and Cranberry Institute.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The American Phytopathological Society.


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