It has been speculated that the N-terminal half of the readthrough domain (RTD) encoded by open reading frame 5 of Soybean dwarf virus (SbDV) is related to the vector specificity. To further investigate this hypothesis, transmissibility via aphids was tested on 17 SbDV isolates and comparisons of the deduced amino acid sequences of the coat protein (CP) and other proteins encoded by the RTD were made between these isolates. Isolates were distinguished into four strains: YS, causing yellowing in soybean and transmittable by Aulacorthum solani; DS, causing dwarfing and transmittable by A. solani; YP, causing yellowing and transmittable by Acyrthosiphon pisum; and DP, causing dwarfing and transmittable by A. pisum. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the trees for the CP and the C-terminal half of the RTD sequences contained clusters of isolates of the same symptom type, whereas the tree for the N-terminal half of the RTD contained clusters of isolates of the same aphid vector type. These results agreed with our previous data of the complete nucleotide sequences of four SbDV isolates, and strongly indicated a close relationship between the N-terminal half of the RTD amino acid sequences and aphid transmission specificity of SbDV.
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