In vitro expression and antiserum production against the movement protein of Citrus leprosis virus C (CiLV-C)


Tropical Plant Pathology




Citrus leprosis, caused by Citrus leprosis virus C (CiLV-C), is currently considered the most important viral disease in the Brazilian citrus industry due to the high costs required for the chemical control of its vector, the mite Brevipalpus phoenicis. The pathogen induces a non-systemic infection and the disease is characterized by the appearance of localized lesions on citrus leaves, stems and fruits, premature fruit and leaf drop and dieback of stems. Attempts were made to promote in vitro expression of the putative cell-to-cell movement protein of CiLV-C in Escherichia coli and to produce a specific polyclonal antibody against this protein as a tool to investigate the virus-plant-vector relationship. The antibody reacted strongly with the homologous protein expressed in vitro by ELISA, but poorly with the native protein present in leaf lesion extracts from sweet orange caused by CiLV-C. Reactions from old lesions were more intense than those from young lesions. Western blot and in situ immunolocalization assays failed to detect the native protein. These results suggest low expression of the movement protein (MP) in host tissues. Moreover, it is possible that the conformation of the protein expressed in vitro and used to produce the antibody differs from that of the native MP, hindering a full recognition of the latter.

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