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Virol J. 2010 Aug 3;7:178. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-7-178.

Characterization of alphasatellites associated with monopartite begomovirus/betasatellite complexes in Yunnan, China.

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State Key Laboratory of Rice Biology, Institute of Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, P.R. China.



Alphasatellites are single-stranded molecules that are associated with monopartite begomovirus/betasatellite complexes.


Alphasatellites were identified in begomovirus-infected plant samples in Yunnan, China. All samples that contained alphasatellites also contained betasatellites, but only some samples that contained betasatellites contained alphasatellites. Thirty-three alphasatellites were sequenced, and they ranged from 1360 to 1376 nucleotides. All alphasatellites contain 3 conserved features: a single open reading frame (Rep), a conserved hairpin structure, and an adenine-rich (A-rich) region. On the basis of the phylogenetic tree of the complete nucleotide sequences, the alphasatellites were divided into 3 types with one exception. Type 1 was associated with Tomato yellow leaf curl China virus (TYLCCNV)/Tomato yellow leaf curl China betasatellite (TYLCCNB) complex. Type 2 was associated with Tobacco curly shoot virus (TbCSV)/Tobacco curly shoot betasatellite (TbCSB) complex. Type 3 was associated with TbCSV/Ageratum yellow vein betasatellite (AYVB) complex. Within each type, nucleotide sequence identity ranged from 83.4 to 99.7%, while 63.4-81.3% identity was found between types. Mixed infections of alphasatellites associated with begomovirus/betasatellite complexes were documented.


Our results validate that alphasatellites are only associated with begomovirus/betasatellite complexes. Thirty-three sequenced alphasatellites isolated from Yunnan Province, China were divided into 3 types--each associated with a specific begomovirus/betasatellite complex. Mix-infections of alphasatellite molecules may not be unusual.

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