Open Access Research

Diversity and phylogeography of begomovirus-associated beta satellites of okra in India

V Venkataravanappa12, CN Lakshminarayana Reddy3, P Swaranalatha1, Salil Jalali1, Rob W Briddon4 and M Krishna Reddy15*

Author Affiliations

1 Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Hessaraghatta Lake PO, Bangalore, India

2 Indian Vegetable Research Institute, Varanasi 221305, Uttar Pradesh, India

3 Department of Plant Pathology, College of Sericulture, University of Agricultural Sciences, Chintamani, Karnataka, India

4 Agricultural Biotechnology Division, National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, P.O. Box 577, Jhang Road, Faisalabad, Pakistan

5 Division of Plant Pathology, Plant Virology Laboratory, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Hessaraghatta Lake PO, Bangalore 560 089, India

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Virology Journal 2011, 8:555  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-555

Published: 21 December 2011



Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus; family Malvaceae) is grown in temperate as well as subtropical regions of the world, both for human consumption as a vegetable and for industrial uses. Okra yields are affected by the diseases caused by phyopathogenic viruses. India is the largest producer of okra and in this region a major biotic constraint to production are viruses of the genus Begomovirus. Begomoviruses affecting okra across the Old World are associated with specific, symptom modulating satellites (beta satellites). We describe a comprehensive analysis of the diversity of beta satellites associated with okra in India.


The full-length sequences of 36 beta satellites, isolated from okra exhibiting typical begomovirus symptoms (leaf curl and yellow vein), were determined. The sequences segregated in to four groups. Two groups correspond to the beta satellites Okra leaf curl beta satellite (OLCuB) and Bhendi yellow vein beta satellite (BYVB) that have previously been identified in okra from the sub-continent. One sequence was distinct from all other, previously isolated beta satellites and represents a new species for which we propose the name Bhendi yellow vein India beta satellite (BYVIB). This new beta satellite was nevertheless closely related to BYVB and OLCuB. Most surprising was the identification of Croton yellow vein mosaic beta satellite (CroYVMB) in okra; a beta satellite not previously identified in a malvaceous plant species. The okra beta satellites were shown to have distinct geographic host ranges with BYVB occurring across India whereas OLCuB was only identified in northwestern India. Okra infections with CroYVMB were only identified across the northern and eastern central regions of India. A more detailed analysis of the sequences showed that OLCuB, BYVB and BYVIB share highest identity with respect βC1 gene. βC1 is the only gene encoded by beta satellites, the product of which is the major pathogenicity determinant of begomovirus-beta satellite complexes and is involved in overcoming host defenses based on RNAi.


The diversity of beta satellites in okra across the sub-continent is higher than previously realized and is higher than for any other malvaceous plant species so far analyzed. The beta satellites identified in okra show geographic segregation, which has implications for the development and introduction of resistant okra varieties. However, the finding that the βC1 gene of the major okra beta satellites (OLCuB, BYVB and BYVIB) share high sequence identity and provides a possible avenue to achieve a broad spectrum resistance.

Geminivirus; Begomovirus; Betasatellites; Diversity; Okra; Recombination