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Comparison of Ambisense M RNA of Watermelon Silver Mottle Virus with Other Tospoviruses

April 1998 , Volume 88 , Number  4
Pages  351 - 358

Fang-Hua Chu and Shyi-Dong Yeh

Department of Plant Pathology, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China

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Accepted for publication 19 December 1997

Double-stranded genomic RNAs (dsRNAs) extracted from Chenopodium quinoa infected with watermelon silver mottle virus (WSMV) were similar to those of tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV, serogroup I) and impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV, serogroup III), except that the S dsRNA of WSMV is 0.75 and 0.6 kbp longer than those of TSWV and INSV, respectively. The complete nucleotide sequence of the genomic M RNA of WSMV was determined from cDNA clones generated from separated M dsRNA. The M RNA is 4,880 nucleotides in length with two open reading frames (ORFs) in an ambisense organization. The M RNA-encoded nonstructural (NSm) ORF located on the viral strand encodes a protein of 312 amino acids (35 kDa), and the G1/G2 ORF located on the viral complementary strand encodes a protein of 1,121 amino acids (127.6 kDa). The RNA probe corresponding to the NSm or G1/G2 ORF of WSMV failed to hybridize with the M dsRNAs of TSWV and INSV. Comparison of M and S RNAs of WSMV, TSWV, INSV, and peanut bud necrosis virus (PBNV, serogroup IV) revealed a consensus sequence of eight nucleotides of 5′-AGAGCAAU…-3′ at their 5′ ends and 5′-…AUUGCUCU-3′ at their 3′ ends. The low overall nucleotide identities (56.4 to 56.9%) of the M RNA and the low amino acid identities of the NSm and G1/G2 proteins (30.5 to 40.9%) with those of TSWV and INSV indicate that WSMV belongs to the Tospovirus genus but is phylogenetically distinct from viruses in serogroups I and III. The M RNA of WSMV shares a nucleotide identity of 79.6% with that of PBNV, and the two viruses share 83.4 and 88.7% amino acid identities for their NSm and G1/G2 proteins, respectively. It is concluded that they are two related but distinct species of serogroup IV. In addition to the viral or viral complementary full-length M RNA, two putative RNA messages for the NSm gene and the G1/G2 gene, 1.0 and 3.4 kb, respectively, were detected from the total RNA extracted from WSMV-infected tissue of Nicotiana benthamiana. The 1.0- and 3.4-kb RNAs were also detected in the viral RNAs extracted from purified nucleocapsids, suggesting that the putative messages of the M RNA of WSMV can also be encapsidated by the nucleocapsid protein.

© 1998 The American Phytopathological Society