Comparison by HPLC of tryptic digests of coat proteins from six biologically and serologically distinct potyviruses, namely bean yellow mosaic virus, Johnson grass mosaic virus, passion-fruit woodiness virus (PWV), potato virus Y (PVY), sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) and water-melon mosaic virus II, demonstrated that each potyvirus can be distinguished from the others. HPLC of tryptic peptides from coat proteins of four strains of PVY, two strains of PWV and three strains of SCMV showed that peptide patterns of strains from the same potyvirus were very similar. These findings were supported by amino-terminal amino acid sequence analysis of the peptides. The use of enzymes from different sources and variation in the temperature (35 °C to 40 °C) and time (16 to 20 h) of digestion caused small variations in the profiles but did not change the main features of the peptide patterns of each potyvirus. The results suggest that HPLC profiles of tryptic digests of the coat proteins of potyviruses could be useful criteria for the identification and classification of potyviruses.


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