The RNA3 of prunus necrotic ringspot ilarvirus (PNRSV) has been cloned and its entire sequence determined. The RNA3 consists of 1943 nucleotides (nt) and possesses two large open reading frames (ORFs) separated by an intergenic region of 74 nt. The 5′ proximal ORF is 855 nt in length and codes for a protein of molecular mass 31.4 kDa which has homologies with the putative movement protein of other members of the . The 3′ proximal ORF of 675 nt is the cistron for the coat protein (CP) and has a predicted molecular mass of 24.9 kDa. The sequence of the 3′ noncoding region (NCR) of PNRSV RNA3 showed a high degree of similarity with those of tobacco streak virus (TSV), prune dwarf virus (PDV), apple mosaic virus (ApMV) and also alfalfa mosaic virus (AlMV). In addition it contained potential stem-loop structures with interspersed AUGC motifs characteristic for ilar- and alfamoviruses. This conserved primary and secondary structure in all 3′ NCRs may be responsible for the interaction with homologous and heterologous CPs and subsequent activation of genome replication. The CP gene of an ApMV isolate (ApMV-G) of 657 nt has also been cloned and sequenced. Although ApMV and PNRSV have a distant serological relationship, the deduced amino acid sequences of their CPs have an identity of only 51.8%. The N termini of PNRSV and ApMV CPs have in common a zinc-finger motif and the potential to form an amphipathic helix.


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