A spontaneous red clover necrotic mosaic virus mutant, TpM-341, was isolated by multiple passage of Czechoslovakian isolate TpM-34 in beans, followed by three cycles of single lesion isolation in cowpea and in . The symptoms induced in cowpea by TpM-34 and TpM-341 differed. TpM-34 gave rise to chlorotic lesions which expanded with time, often becoming confluent with adjacent lesions, and developed necrotic margins; the plants became systemically infected. TpM-341 induced necrotic lesions which, once developed, did not expand further; plants did not become systemically infected. Analysis of pseudorecombinants formed between the RNAs of TpM-34 and TpM-341 showed that RNA 2 deter-mined the difference in symptoms. Comparison of the nucleotide sequence of the open reading frames (ORFs) encoding the P2 movement proteins of the two isolates revealed only one difference, a deletion of an A residue in a sequence of four A residues (nucleotides 790 to 793). Construction of full-length TpM-34 and TpM-341 RNA 2 cDNA clones, from which infectious RNA 2 could be transcribed , and mutagenesis of a cDNA clone of TpM-341, confirmed that the difference in the symptoms induced by TpM-341 was caused by the loss of this A residue. This single base deletion was predicted to cause a translational frame-shift in the P2 ORF causing the loss of 88 amino acids at the C terminus which were replaced by a sequence of 34 different amino acids, producing a truncated P2 protein. translation of RNA 2 transcribed from cDNA clones showed that RNA with four or three A residues starting at nucleotide 790 produced proteins of 36K and 30K respectively, in agreement with the predictions based on the nucleotide sequence.


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