RNAs of soil-borne wheat mosaic virus (SBWMV) from virions 281 nm, 138 nm and 92 nm long (designated here by relative lengths as 1.0L, 0.5L and 0.35L, respectively), were isolated and purified by three cycles of sucrose density gradient centrifugation. Infectivity assays with these RNAs proved the bipartite nature of SBWMV, the combination of 1.0L and either 0.5L or 0.35L RNAs being required for infection and for multiplication of progeny viruses. The 0.5L RNA underwent deletion mutation, producing smaller variants with various sizes, of which 0.4L and 0.35L RNAs were confirmed to be functional in combination with 1.0L RNA. The coat proteins of all isolates had mol. wt. of 19700. The mol. wt. of 1.0L, 0.5L, 0.4L and 0.35L RNAs, determined under denaturing conditions, were 2.28 × 10 (6500 bases), 1.23 × 10 (3500 bases), 0.97 × 10 (2800 bases) and 0.86 × 10 (2450 bases), respectively. A new virus group, furovirus (fungus-borne rod-shaped virus), is proposed for SBWMV.


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