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J Gen Virol. 2005 Mar;86(Pt 3):823-6.

Analysis of tombusvirus revertants to identify essential amino acid residues within RNA-dependent RNA polymerase motifs.

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Centrum Grüne Gentechnik, Dienstleistungszentrum Ländlicher Raum Rhein-Pfalz, Breitenweg 71, D-67435 Neustadt, Germany.


The RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) of Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) contains an arginine- and proline-rich (RPR) motif. This motif functions as an RNA-binding domain and is essential for tombusvirus replication. A mutant carrying three arginine substitutions in this motif rendered the virus unable to replicate in Nicotiana benthamiana plants and protoplasts. When the replicase function was provided in trans, by expressing the TBSV RdRp in N. benthamiana plants, an infectious variant could be isolated. Sequence analysis showed that only the substituted glycine residue (position 216) had reverted to arginine; all other substitutions remained unchanged. This finding suggested that strong selection pressure is active to maintain necessary sequences of the viral RdRp and that the analysis of revertants may help to identify essential viral functions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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