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Insights into the maternal pathway for Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus infection of cucurbit seeds

  • Dorit Shargil
  • Hanita Zemach
  • Eduard Belausov
  • Oded Lachman
  • Neta Luria
  • Ori Molad
  • Elisheva Smith
  • Rina Kamenetsky
  • Aviv DombrovskyEmail author
Original Article


Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV), genus Tobamovirus, is a major pathogen of cucurbits that primarily affects cucumber, melon, and watermelon crops. The aim of this study was to reveal the contribution of CGMMV-infected female flowers to disease spread. Using a fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) technique, we show that ovaries and ovules of CGMMV-infected cucumber and melon plants showed a CGMMV-specific fluorescence signal prior to and following anthesis. The fluorescence signal was prominent but sporadic. Ripe fruits of infected melon plants showed strong signals in the funiculus, the seed stalk, which connects the developing seed to the interior ovary wall. Importantly, in seeds, a strong fluorescence signal was observed in the perisperm-endosperm (PE) envelope, which underlies the seed coat and surrounds the embryo. Interestingly, the fluorescence signal was not uniformly distributed in the PE envelope but was localized to a specific envelope layer. These results have important epidemiological implications for CGMMV management and commercial seed production, particularly regarding the improvement of seed disinfection methods that will contribute to limit the global distribution of the virus.


Cucurbit Seeds Perisperm endosperm envelope Funiculus 



We would like to thank Dr. Victor Gaba for editing the manuscript.

Funding information

Contribution number 578-17 from the Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Rishon LeZion, Israel. This work was supported by the Chief Scientist, Israel Ministry of Agriculture and the Plant Production and Marketing Board for CGMMV initiative project number 132-1740 (AD & RK).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant Pathology and Weed Research, Agricultural Research OrganizationThe Volcani CenterRishon LeZionIsrael
  2. 2.Institute of Plant Sciences, Volcani Center, Agricultural Research OrganizationThe Volcani CenterRishon LeZionIsrael
  3. 3.The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, The Robert H Smith Faculty of AgricultureFood and EnvironmentRehovotIsrael

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