The presence of symptom-attenuating defective interfering (DI) RNAs in a laboratory culture of cucumber necrosis tombusvirus (CNV) was confirmed. Sequencing of cDNA clones of these DI RNAs revealed that CNV DI RNAs retained sequences from the CNV 5′-untranslated and 3′-terminal regions as well as a portion of the coding region for the 92K protein. Similar sequence arrangements were also observed in symptom-attenuating DI RNAs generated from synthetic wild-type CNV transcripts. A comparison of the sequences and biological activities of these CNV DI RNAs is presented. In co-infections of synthetic wild-type CNV and CNV DI RNAs, prominent RNA species of a higher than the DI RNA used in the co-infection were found. The possible nature of these RNA species is discussed.


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