Developing test for molecular detection and pathotype determination of Pepper Mild Mottle virus

Proof of Concept, Innovation Fund of the Republic of Serbia, 5557, 2020-2021
Principal Investigator: Dr Bojana Banovic Djeri
Participants from IMGGE: Dr Milena Ugrin, Sofija Nesic 

The project answers to the need for the fast and accurate molecular detection of Pepper Mild Mottle Virus (PMMoV). Having in mind that PMMoV is affecting pepper production worldwide, and that the virus is easily spread and persistent, with no available treatment, the efficient detection is essential for virus monitoring and control. Current methods for PMMoV monitoring detect viral proteins, particular genomic regions or biological response of the plant, but they are unreliable, labor-intensive, long-lasting and unable to detect different pathotypes in a single reaction. Innovative concept of this project offers efficient and reliable PMMoV monitoring approach based on the previously unexploited possibility to use „silent“ mutations in viral genome to simultaneously detect its presence and pathogenicity. The test will target 8 mutations identified in our previous published work at specific PMMoV genomic positions. This project will investigate association of these 8 target mutations with pathotype levels 2 and 3, contributing to >97% of PMMoV infections. If proven, this concept will enable reliable time-wise monitoring of PMMoV in the soil, water, farms, markets, imported/exported seed/plant material/food/feed, leading to increased food and water safety, with potential for test commercialization. Additionally, it will empower novel solutions to fight PMMoV and other viruses.

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