Genus: Cucumovirus

Genus: Cucumovirus

Distinguishing features

Cucumoviruses are transmitted in a non-persistent manner by over 80 species of aphids belonging to more than 30 genera. The RNA2 is bicistronic producing a 2b protein associated with suppression of post-transcriptional gene silencing.



Virions are icosahedral, of uniform size and sedimentation properties (Figure 1.Bromoviridae, panels C and F). In electron micrographs they appear to have electron dense centers (Figure 1C. Bromoviridae).

Physicochemical and physical properties

Purified virions are labile, and are especially susceptible to anionic detergents and high ionic strength buffers that disrupt the RNA-protein interactions required for particle integrity. Most strains are unstable in the presence of Mg2+, but at least one strain of cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) requires Mg2+ for stability. Extinction coefficient at 260 nm: 5.0.

Nucleic acid

Within each species, the 3′-termini of all RNAs are highly similar and can form tRNA-like structures that are aminoacylatable with tyrosine. Within a species, the 5′-untranslated region of RNA1 and RNA2 are also very similar. At least two strains of CMV (CMV-Fny and CMV-M) can form defective RNAs that arise by deletions in the 3a ORF of RNA3. Subgroup II strains of CMV encapsidate the subgenomic RNA for the 2b ORF, called RNA4A, and an additional small RNA of about 300 nt, called RNA5, that is co-terminal with the 3′-ends of RNA3 and RNA4. In addition, CMV may harbor satellite RNAs of about 330 to 400 nt. The satellite RNAs are more common under experimental conditions than in field conditions, and may dramatically alter the symptoms of infection by the helper virus in certain hosts like tomato.


Virions contain a coat protein of 24.5 kDa . 


Lipids are not associated with virions 


Carbohydrates are not associated with virions

Genome organization and replication

The genome is organized as depicted in Figure 2C.Bromoviridae. Coat protein is not required for activation of the genome. An additional ORF, the 2b ORF, has been shown to be active in CMV, tomato aspermy virus (TAV) and peanut stunt virus (PSV). Recombination among natural CMV isolates was detected in the CMV genome, although at low frequency (Bonnet et al., 2005, Nouri et al., 2014) as well as inter-strain recombination in CMV reassortants (Pita and Roossinck 2013). The control elements of recombination frequency reside predominantly within the 2a gene (Pita et al., 2015). 


CMV has an extremely broad host range, infecting plants in 85 families and more than 1000 species experimentally. The other cucumoviruses have narrower host ranges; PSV is largely limited to legumes and solanaceous hosts, and TAV predominantly infects composites and solanaceous plants. All species are transmitted by aphids in a non-persistent manner. Recent evidence expands the CMV host range to other kingdoms to now include oomycetes (kingdom Stramenopila), ascomycetes and basidiomycetes (kingdom Fungi) (Andika et al., 2017, Mascia et al., 2018). CMV is prone to recombination and shows high genetic diversity among isolates so far sequenced. However the presence of reassortants and recombinants is not frequent in CMV populations isolated within plants, in a field or in nearby wild plants suggesting that at least some combinations were not favored under natural infection. Local low genetic diversity correlates positively with severe bottlenecks occurring during both virus movement within a plant and transmission between plants (Escriu et al., 2007, Jacquemond 2012).


CMV has been divided into two subgroups based on serology. PSV also has more than one serological group. Sequence analysis has upheld the divisions, although subgroup I can be further divided into two groups by phylogenetic analyses.

Derivation of names

Cucumo: from the type species Cucumber mosaic virus

Species demarcation criteria 

Criteria used for demarcation of species within the genus are serological relatedness and complete functional interaction of replicase proteins (1a and 2a proteins), but these distinctions may break down in the case of naturally occurring reassortants and sequence similarity. 

Serology and nucleotide sequence similarity is used to distinguish subgroups within a species; subgroups generally have at least 65% whole genome sequence identity.

Member species

Exemplar isolate of the species
SpeciesVirus nameIsolateAccession numberRefSeq numberAvailable sequenceVirus Abbrev.
Cucumber mosaic viruscucumber mosaic virusFnyRNA1: D00356; RNA2: D00355; RNA3: D10538RNA1: NC_002034; RNA2: NC_002035; RNA3: NC_001440Complete genomeCMV
Gayfeather mild mottle virusgayfeather mild mottle virusLithuaniaRNA1: FM881899; RNA2: FM881900; RNA3: FM881901RNA1: NC_012134; RNA2: NC_012135; RNA3: NC_012136Complete genomeGMMV
Peanut stunt viruspeanut stunt virusERRNA1: U15728; RNA2: U15729; RNA3: U15730RNA1: NC_002038; RNA2: NC_002039; RNA3: NC_002040Complete genomePSV
Tomato aspermy virustomato aspermy virusVRNA1: D10044; RNA2: D10663; RNA3: AJ277268RNA1: NC_003837; RNA2: NC_003838; RNA3: NC_003836Complete genomeTAV

Virus names, the choice of exemplar isolates, and virus abbreviations, are not official ICTV designations.