Potato spindle tuber viroid

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potato tubers with symptoms of infection by the potato spindle tuber viroid (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): William M. Brown Jr.
Source: IPM Images

Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd)

The viroid is widespread and infects several solanaceous crops, in particular potatoes and tomatoes. The characteristic symptoms on potatoes include small, spindle-shaped tubers with prominent eyes. On tomatoes, the viroid causes stunting, leaf chlorosis and purpling of the older leaves. Asymptomatic infections have been also reported. Crop losses can reach 50% or more. It can be easily transmitted mechanically, spreading to adjacent plants. Infected potato tubers and tomato seeds can result in long-distance spread of the disease. Management involves the careful removal of infected plants and the use of viroid-free tubers and seeds.

Potato spindle tuber viroid infected potato tubers (left), healthy tubers on right (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): William M. Brown Jr.
Source: IPM Images

PSTVd was the first viroid discovered and described by T.O. Diener in 1971. The viroid replicates in the nucleus and typically contains 359 nucleotides. It is the type species of the genus Pospiviroid and the family Pospiviroidae. Several strains of the viroid have been described which differ in their virulence. Some strains can kill the host plants.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Kartoffelspindelknollen-Viroid
• English: Potato spindle tuber viroid
• Français: viroïde de la maladie des tubercules en fuseau
secondary structure of Potato spindle tuber viroid (yellow = central conservative sequence) (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): H.J. Larsen
Source: Wikimedia Commons