The 5′-terminal cistron of beet necrotic yellow vein furovirus RNA 2 encodes the 21 kDa major viral coat protein and terminates with an amber stop codon which can undergo suppression to give rise to a 75 kDa readthrough (RT) protein referred to as P75. P75 is a minor component of virions and the 54 kDa RT domain following the coat protein sequence is important both for virus assembly and transmission by the fungal vector . To better define the regions of the RT domain involved in these two steps, RNA 2 transcripts encoding different in-frame RT domain deletion mutants were tested for their ability to form virions when inoculated to plants with the other viral RNAs and to be fungus-transmitted. All deletions in the N-terminal half of the RT domain interfered with virus assembly and partially or completely inhibited fungus transmission. A 411 nucleotide deletion within the C-terminal half of the RT domain did not inhibit assembly but blocked fungus transmission of the virus. Alanine scanning mutagenesis within the aforesaid 411 nucleotide subdomain identified a peptide motif (KTER) which is important for the fungus transmission process.


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