The complete nucleotide sequence of tobacco rattle virus (TRV) strain SYM RNA-1 was determined from a series of overlapping cDNA clones. cDNA prepared by primer extension was used to determine the exact 5′ terminus. The RNA sequence was 6791 nucleotides in length and contained four open reading frames (ORFs). The ORF nearest the 5′ terminus coded for a polypeptide of predicted mol. wt. 134000 (134K) and terminated at an opal (UGA) stop codon. Readthrough of this stop codon would result in the production of a protein of 194K. The gene for a 29K polypeptide started one base beyond the 194K stop codon and, in turn, was followed by the gene for a 16K protein at the 3′ end of RNA-1. Amino acid comparisons of the 194K protein with the putative replicase of tobacco mosaic virus showed three regions of strong homology, suggesting that the 134K and 194K proteins were similarly involved in virus replication. The 5′ terminal sequences of both genome RNA species of TRV strains ORY, N5 and PRN together with that of SYM RNA-2 were also determined. Alignments of these sequences showed that there was a 22 base repeated sequence close to the 5′ terminus in all these RNA species. It was also shown that the 5′ terminus of RNA-1 was homologous with the same region in RNA-2.


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