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Compared with other viruses in the family, members of the genus Bymovirus are distinct in having a divided (bipartite) genome and in being transmitted by the root-infecting parasite, Polymyxa graminis (Plasmodiophorales) a fungoid protist.
Virions are flexuous filaments of two modal lengths, 250–300 nm and 500-600 nm; both are 13 nm in width (Figure 1.Bymovirus).
Figure 1.Bymovirus. Virions of an isolate of barley yellow mosaic virus, stained with 1% PTA, pH 7.0. The bar represents 200 nm (from D. Lesemann).
Virion density in CsCl is 1.28–1.30 g cm−3.
Virions contain two molecules of linear positive sense, ssRNA. RNA1 is 7.5–8.0 kb and RNA2 is 3.5–4.0 kb; RNA makes up 5% by weight of particles. There is little base sequence identity between the two RNAs except in the 5′ UTR.
Virions have a single CP of 28.5–33 kDa. The CP of barley yellow mosaic virus isolates has 297 aa.
The two RNA molecules are translated initially into precursor polypeptides from which functional proteins are derived by proteolytic processing (Figure 2.Bymovirus). The organization of RNA1 is similar to that of other potyviruses but without the P1 and HC-Pro proteins. The RNA2 polyprotein is unique to bymoviruses although the first (ca. 28 kDa) protein from RNA2 has aa domains with sequence similarities to the potyvirus protein HC-Pro. The larger protein of RNA2 is believed to have a role in vector transmission (You and Shirako 2010).
Figure 2.Bymovirus. Genomic map of the bymovirus bipartite genome, using, as an example an isolate of barley yellow mosaic virus. Conventions are as for potyvirus genome organization map (Figure 2.Potyviridae). Function of most mature proteins are postulated by analogy with genus Potyvirus. P1 corresponds to the C-terminal protease of HC-Pro.
The viral proteins are moderately immunogenic; serological relationships exist among most members (except barley mild mosaic virus). The CP aa sequence identity among members is 35–74%.
There are characteristic pinwheel-like inclusions and membranous network structures are formed in the cytoplasm of infected plant cells. No nuclear inclusions are found.
The host range of member viruses is narrow, restricted to the host family Gramineae. Each member has a very restricted host range; for example, the barley-infecting viruses do not infect wheat and vice versa.
These viruses are transmitted by Polymyxa graminis in a persistent manner, surviving in resting spores as long as these remain viable; it is transmissible experimentally by mechanical inoculation, sometimes with difficulty.
Bymo: from barley yellow mosaic.
Soybean leaf rugose mosaic virus
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