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Virology. 1998 Mar 30;243(1):54-65.

Nucleotide sequence analysis shows that Rhopalosiphum padi virus is a member of a novel group of insect-infecting RNA viruses.

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Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801, USA.


Rhopalosiphum padi virus (RhPV) is an aphid virus that has been considered a member of the Picornaviridae based on physicochemical properties. The 10,011-nt polyadenylated RNA genome of RhPV was completely sequenced. Analysis of the sequence revealed the presence of two open reading frames (ORFs). The predicted amino acid sequence of ORF1, representing the first 6600 nt of the RhPV genome, showed significant similarity to the nonstructural proteins of several plant and animal RNA viruses. Direct sequence analysis of the RhPV capsid proteins showed that ORF2, which represents the last 2900 nt, encodes the three structural proteins (28, 29, and 30 kDa). The predicted amino acid sequence of ORF2 is very similar to the corresponding regions of Drosophila C virus, Plautia stali intestine virus, and to a partial sequence from the 3' end of the cricket paralysis virus genome. The site of initiation of protein synthesis for ORF2 could not be determined from the amino acid and nucleotide sequences. ORF1 is preceded by 579 nt of noncoding RNA and the two ORFs are separated by more than 500 nt of noncoding RNA. Like picornaviruses, these regions may function to facilitate the cap-independent initiation of translation of the two ORFs. These data suggest that RhPV, Drosophila C virus, Plautia stali intestine virus, and probably cricket paralysis virus are members of a unique group of small RNA viruses that infect primarily insects.

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