DNA complementary to mosaic virus (NVMV) RNA was cloned and five segments larger than 0.9 kb were used in Northern blot hybridization analysis to identify two virus-specific RNAs, approximately 8 kb (RNA 1) and 3 kb (RNA 2) in size. The clones selected as probes did not hybridize with RNA from various tobamoviruses, or from beet necrotic yellow vein (BNYVV) and peanut clump furoviruses. In an attempt to determine the taxonomic position of the virus, about 75% of the NVMV RNA 2 was sequenced and four open reading frames (ORFs) were identified. ORFs 1, 2 and 3 encode proteins of 20K, 39K and 13K, whereas ORF 4 was incomplete. ORFs 2, 3 and 4 overlapped in an arrangement closely resembling the triple gene block identified in BNYVV RNA 2, barley stripe mosaic virus (BSMV) RNA 2, potato virus X and potato virus M RNA. The presumed coat protein gene of NVMV RNA 2 (ORF 1) is situated to the 5′ side of the triple gene block as for BNYVV and BSMV RNA 2. Amino acid homologies were dtected among the 13K and 14K proteins of NVMV RNA 2, BNYVV RNA 2 and BSMV RNA 2. Significant homology was also detected between the 39K protein of NVMV RNA 2 and the 42K protein of BNYVV RNA 2, with a motif specific for ATP- and GTP-binding (NTP-binding motif), and a conserved viral DNA polymerase domain. The presence of a triple gene block in NVMV RNA 2 indicates that NVMV has affinities with members of the hordei-, furo-, potex- and carlavirus groups but not with the tobamovirus group. The divided RNA genome of NVMV, and the sizes of the two RNAs suggest that NVMV is most closely allied to the furoviruses, but the unique nature of its different biological properties and lack of any serological relationships with furoviruses lead us to conclude that NVMV has no clear relatedness to any taxonomic group of plant viruses.


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