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Virology. 2003 Sep 15;314(1):315-25.

Yeast as a model host to study replication and recombination of defective interfering RNA of Tomato bushy stunt virus.

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Department of Plant Pathology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546, USA.


Defective interfering (DI) RNA associated with Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV), which is a plus-strand RNA virus, requires p33 and p92 proteins of TBSV or the related Cucumber necrosis virus (CNV), for replication in plants. To test if DI RNA can replicate in a model host, we coexpressed TBSV DI RNA and p33/p92 of CNV in yeast. We show evidence for replication of DI RNA in yeast, including (i) dependence on p33 and p92 for DI replication; (ii) presence of active CNV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase in isolated membrane-containing preparations; (iii) increasing amount of DI RNA(+) over time; (iv) accumulation of (-)stranded DI RNA; (v) presence of correct 5' and 3' ends in DI RNA; (vi) inhibition of replication by mutations in the replication enhancer; and (vii) evolution of DI RNA over time, as shown by sequence heterogeneity. We also produced evidence supporting the occurrence of DI RNA recombinants in yeast. In summary, development of yeast as a host for replication of TBSV DI RNA will facilitate studies on the roles of viral and host proteins in replication/recombination.

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