The complete sequence of the single-stranded, (+)-sense RNA genome of saguaro cactus carmovirus (SCV) has been determined. The 3879 nucleotide genome contains five open reading frames (ORFs). The 5'-proximal ORF encodes a 26 kDa protein (p26) and terminates with an amber codon which is readthrough into an in-frame p57 ORF to generate an 86 kDa fusion protein (p86). Two small, centrally located ORFs encode a 6 kDa protein (p6) and a 9 kDa protein (p9), respectively. The 3'-proximal ORF encodes a 37 kDa (p37) capsid protein (CP). Analysis of the nucleotide and predicted amino acid sequences supports the classification of SCV in the genus Carmovirus in the family Tombusviridae. All predicted SCV proteins are expressed in an in vitro translation system. SCV p26 and the readthrough fusion protein p86 are synthesized from the genomic RNA while p6, p9 and p37 CP ORFs at the 3' half of the genome are expressed from two subgenomic (sg) RNAs. The 5' termini of both sg RNAs have been mapped. The large 1614 nucleotide sg RNA contains the p6 and p9 ORFs as the first and the second ORFs respectively from its 5' end. It directs the synthesis of abundant p6 but a small amount of p9. While a synthetic transcript with the p9 ORF at the 5' end is a more efficient messenger for p9, no corresponding sg RNA has been identified in vivo. The smaller 1396 nucleotide sg RNA contains only the p37 ORF and directs the synthesis of SCV CP.


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