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J Gen Virol. 2003 Oct;84(Pt 10):2853-9.

The ability of a bymovirus to overcome the rym4-mediated resistance in barley correlates with a codon change in the VPg coding region on RNA1.

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Federal Centre for Breeding Research on Cultivated Plants, Institute of Resistance Research and Pathogen Diagnostics, Theodor-Roemer-Weg 4, Aschersleben D-06449, Germany.


The genome difference(s) that enable the European pathotype 2 isolates of Barley yellow mosaic virus (BaYMV-2) to infect barley genotypes with the rym4 resistance gene were investigated. Stable deletions of different sizes occurred in RNA2 of laboratory isolates of the common pathotype (BaYMV-1) and BaYMV-2. After mechanical inoculation of susceptible or rym4 genotypes with a mixture of both isolates, immunocapture-RT-PCR with RNA2-specific primers flanking stable deletion regions was used to detect and distinguish the two pathotypes. Individual leaves contained RNA2 of either or both isolates, showing that RNA2 of BaYMV-1 can replicate and move systemically in rym4 plants when co-inoculated with BaYMV-2. In contrast, sequences of RNA1-specific RT-PCR fragments showed that in resistant plants these were always BaYMV-2, suggesting that the pathogenicity determinant was on RNA1. The complete ORFs of RNA1 of three BaYMV-1 and four BaYMV-2 isolates from the UK and Germany were sequenced, and the RNA2 sequences of one BaYMV-1 and two BaYMV-2 isolates from the UK were also determined. All sequences were very similar to one another and to the published German BaYMV-1 isolate. The only consistent amino acid difference between the BaYMV-1 and BaYMV-2 isolates was in the RNA1-encoded polyproteins and this was confirmed by sequencing the relevant region of eight further German isolates. All BaYMV-1 isolates had lysine at aa 1307, whereas BaYMV-2 isolates had asparagine (or, in one isolate, histidine). The polymorphism occurred in the central region of VPg, which has been shown to be required for pathogenicity on genotypes carrying recessive resistance genes in several potyvirus/dicotyledonous plant pathosystems.

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