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Plant J. 1992 Jan;2(1):43-9.

A single nucleotide change within a plant virus satellite RNA alters the host specificity of disease induction.

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Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.


Some RNA plant viruses contain satellite RNAs which are dependent upon their associated virus for replication and encapsidation. Some cucumber mosaic virus satellite RNAs induce chlorosis on any of several host plants, including either tobacco or tomato. The exchange of sequence domains between cDNA clones of chlorosis-inducing and non-pathogenic satellite RNAs delimited the chlorosis domain for both tobacco and tomato plants to the same region. Site-directed mutagenesis of one nucleotide (149) within this domain changed the host plant specificity for a chlorotic response to satellite RNA infection from tomato to tobacco. Within the chlorosis domain, three conserved nucleotides are either deleted or altered in all satellite RNAs that do not induce chlorosis. Deletion of one of these nucleotides (153) did not affect satellite RNA replication but rendered it non-pathogenic. Thus, two single nucleotides have been identified which play central roles in those interactions between the virus, its satellite RNA and the host plant, and together result in a specific disease state.

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