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Blueberry necrotic ring blotch virus represents a unique genus of plant RNA viruses.
D. F. QUITO-AVILA (1), R. R. Martin (2). (1) Centro de Investigaciones Biotecnologicas del Ecuador (CIBE)-ESPOL, Guayaquil, Ecuador; (2) USDA-ARS, Corvallis, OR, U.S.A.

<i>Blueberry necrotic ring blotch virus</i> (BNRBV) possesses a 14kb nt genome divided in 4 ssRNA segments. Evolutionary relationships between BNRBV and other plant RNA viruses varied depending on the amino acid (aa) sequence used for the analysis. According to the methyl transferase domain, BNRBV clustered with members of the <i>Bromoviridae</i>. Whereas; the analysis of the polymerase grouped BNRBV with members of the <i>Virgaviridae</i> and <i>Citrus leprosis virus</i> (CiLV), genus <i>Cilevirus.</i> The movement protein revealed that BNRBV is closest to CiLV and two tentative members of the <i>Cilevirus</i>: <i>Passion fruit green spot virus</i> and <i>Ligustrum ringspot virus</i>. An unusual genetic feature found in BNRBV was the presence of two helicase (HEL) domains; one at the 3’end of RNA 1 (HEL-1) and the second one located at the 5’ end of RNA 2 (HEL-2). More importantly, the two HEL domains did not cluster in the same clade. Instead, HEL-1 was found to group with members of the <i>Virgaviridae</i>, whereas, HEL-2 showed a closer relationship with members of the genera <i>Potexvirus</i>, <i>Carlavirus</i>, and<i> Closterovirus</i>. Furthermore, searches for conserved motifs revealed that HEL-1 contains motifs (I, II, III and V) commonly found in members of the <i>Alphavirus</i>-like superfamily; whereas HEL-2 showed motifs (I and II) highly conserved among members of the <i>Flavivirus</i>-like superfamily. These findings suggest the creation of a new genus for the classification of plant RNA viruses with characteristics similar to BNRBV. <p><p>Keywords: Virus-Viroid, Fruits-Nuts

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