Northern blot analysis of infected with potato leafroll luteovirus revealed the 6 kb genomic RNA and a major 2.3 kb subgenomic RNA. The 5′ end of the subgenomic RNA was located at nucleotide 3653 in an intergenic region located at the centre of the viral genome upstream of three open reading frames (ORFs). Transient expression in tobacco and potato protoplasts of the β-glucuronidase reporter gene fused to various putative regulatory sequences present in the subgenomic RNA was used to study their influence on expression levels. We observed a suppression of the amber stop codon separating the coat protein (CP) gene from a downstream ORF (56K protein), to a level of 0.9% to 1.3%. Translation initiation at the AUG of an ORF (17K protein) which is nested within the CP gene, exceeds translation of the CP gene itself by a factor of 7.


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