Date of this Version
Journal of Virology, October 2014, Volume 88, Number 20, p. 11834–11845, doi:10.1128/JVI.01901-14.
Eriophyid mite-transmitted, multipartite, negative-sense RNA plant viruses with membrane-bound spherical virions are classified in the genus Emaravirus. We report here that the eriophyid mite-transmitted Wheat mosaic virus (WMoV), an Emaravirus, contains eight genomic RNA segments, the most in a known negative-sense RNA plant virus. Remarkably, two RNA 3 consensus sequences, encoding the nucleocapsid protein, were found with 12.5% sequence divergence, while no heterogeneity was observed in the consensus sequences of additional genomic RNA segments. The RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, glycoprotein precursor, nucleocapsid, and P4 proteins of WMoV exhibited limited sequence homology with the orthologous proteins of other emaraviruses, while proteins encoded by additional genomic RNA segments displayed no significant homology with proteins reported in GenBank, suggesting that the genus Emaravirus evolved further with a divergent octapartite genome. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that WMoV formed an evolutionary link between members of the Emaravirus genus and the family Bunyaviridae. Furthermore, genomic-length virus- and virus-complementary (vc)-sense strands of all WMoV genomic RNAs accumulated asymmetrically in infected wheat, with 10- to 20-fold more virus-sense genomic RNAs than vc-sense RNAs. These data further confirm the octapartite negative-sense polarity of the WMoV genome. In WMoV-infected wheat, subgenomic-length mRNAs of vc sense were detected for genomic RNAs 3, 4, 7, and 8 but not for other RNA species, suggesting that the open reading frames present in the complementary sense of genomic RNAs are expressed through subgenomic- or near-genomic-length vc-sense mRNAs.