Department of Biological Sciences and Plant Molecular Biology Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb 60115
Cloned genomes of the CFH, Worland, and Cal/Logan strains of beet curly top virus (BCTV) served as helper viruses to trans-replicate defective (D) DNAs that are incapable of self-replication due to deletions within the C1 open reading frame encoding the replication initiator (Rep) protein. The Logan Rep protein could trans-replicate a Logan-derived D DNA in a transient replication assay conducted in Nicotiana benthamiana leaf disks. However, the Logan Rep protein was unable to trans-replicate D DNAs derived from the CFH or Worland strains. In contrast, the Rep proteins of the CFH and Worland strains could trans-replicate CFH or Worland D DNAs, but not a Logan D DNA. These results indicate that the cis- and trans-acting replication specificity elements of the CFH and Worland strains are compatible and that the three strains of BCTV may be divided into two groupings based upon replication specificity determinants. A comparison of amino acid sequences of the Rep protein for the three BCTV strains suggests that the trans-acting replication specificity element may reside in one or more of 12 amino acid residues that are identical; in two amino acid residues that are chemically similar among the CFH and Worland Rep proteins, yet are different in the Logan Rep protein; or in both. Properties including replication specificity, nucleotide sequence identity, and symptom expression were used as criteria to propose separate species designations for each of the three BCTV strains. In this proposal, the Cal/ Logan strain retains the name BCTV, CFH and the closely related Iranian isolate are designated beet severe curly top virus, and Worland is designated beet mild curly top virus.