An antiserum was raised against a fusion protein containing part of the 56K polypeptide (P5) encoded by the open reading frame (ORF) at the 3′ end of the genome of potato leafroll virus (PLRV). This antiserum reacted specifically with 80K and 90K polypeptides in PLRV-infected protoplasts, with a 90K polypeptide in infected potato tissue and with a 53K polypeptide in protein extracted from purified particles of PLRV. Monoclonal antibodies raised against purified PLRV particles also reacted with these polypeptides, as well as with the 23K coat protein. Virus particles partially purified from infected protoplasts contained some 90K polypeptide as well as the major 23K coat protein. The ORFs of the 23K coat protein and P5 are contiguous and in frame. The results suggest that the P5 polypeptide of PLRV occurs in infected cells as part of a readthrough protein comprising the 23K coat protein joined to the P5 amino acid sequence. Moreover the readthrough protein can be assembled into virus particles as a minor component together with the main 23K component. The P5 protein may thus contribute to properties of PLRV determined by its virus particle surface.


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