The replication of cowpea mosaic virus (CPMV) RNA was studied in crude membrane fractions prepared from leaves of CPMV-infected cowpea and replicase assays showed that in the cowpea extract only the replicative intermediate (RI) and replicative form (RF) were synthesized. In the extract however, single-stranded progeny RNA was produced in addition to RI and RF. Production of the ssRNA in the extract was a result of the greater stability of the CPMV replication complex in this host. Comparison of the viral replicase activity and the amount of virus-encoded proteins in cowpea and crude membrane fractions indicated that only a small fraction of the non-structural proteins detected in cowpea is active in RNA replication. This suggests that viral replication proteins are used only once, perhaps because of a stringent coupling of polyprotein processing and replication.


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