The helper virus mediating replication of the satellite RNA (RNA 3) of pea enation mosaic virus (PEMV) consists of two autonomously replicating, taxonomically unrelated viral RNAs with ties to the luteovirus (RNA 1) and the newly proposed umbravirus (RNA 2) genera. The following study dissects the relative contribution of each of the genomic RNAs of PEMV to the subsistence and dissemination of this satellite RNA. Infectivity assays in a pea protoplast system demonstrate that RNA 2 alone is responsible for the replication of RNA 3, an observation that is supported in part by shared regions of sequence homology at the 5′ and 3′ termini of both RNAs. In pea seedlings, infectivity assays also demonstrated that the presence of RNA 2 alone is necessary for the systemic invasion of RNA 3. In contrast, the luteovirus-like phase of PEMV (RNA 1) is solely responsible for the encapsidation and aphid transmission of both RNA 2 and the satellite RNA. In a manner comparable to several other virus-satellite systems, the satellite of PEMV also displays a differential response in its capacity to attenuate symptom expression in selected host species. Thus, the satellite RNA of PEMV exists in a trilateral arrangement with its host and two viral RNAs, comparable in many respects to the satellite-virus-host interaction occurring with ground-nut rosette disease.


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