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Determination of biotic aetiology of tapping panel dryness (TPD) syndrome of rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) by return-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (R-PAGE) technique

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Abstract:

Tapping panel dryness (TPD) syndrome affecting rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) is known to reduce natural latex production. Its aetiology remains ambiguous despite long years of research. A low molecular weight RNA similar to viroid RNA was isolated from TPD-affected samples of rubber trees. In the present study, a modified return-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis procedure was standardised. The viroid-like low molecular weight (LMW) RNA was found associated with leaf, bark and root tissues and rubber seedlings. The technique was employed to detect LMW RNA in different clones of rubber planted in different locations and in bud-grafted plants. The LMW RNA isolated from TPD-affected trees was found infectious on seedlings of tomato cv Pusa Ruby. The LMW RNA was reisolated from symptomatic tomato leaves but not from control plants. This is for the first time that a biotic agent, a viroid RNA, is found consistently associated with the syndrome. The technology developed can be useful to demonstrate the onset of TPD in untapped trees in the absence of other methods such as nucleic acid hybridisation.

Keywords: Hevea brasiliensis; R-PAGE; low molecular weight (LMW) RNA; rubber tree; tapping panel dryness

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03235408.2012.750814

Affiliations: 1: Plant Virology Unit, Division of Plant Pathology,Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India 2: Department of Biotechnology, Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, India 3: Plant Pathology Division, RRII, Kottayam, India

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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