Pothos latent virus (PoLV) is an isometric virus with a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA genome of 4415 nt. The genome contains five open reading frames (ORF), coding for five proteins with approximate molecular masses of 25, 84, 40, 27 and 14 kDa, respectively. In vitro synthesized PoLV RNA was infectious to Nicotiana benthamiana plants and protoplasts, but could not support replication of the defective interfering (DI) and satellite RNAs associated with Cymbidium ringspot tombusvirus. No DI RNA related to PoLV was generated after repeated passaging with infected sap. Mutagenesis studies defined the role of the ORF 4 product (27 kDa) as a movement protein, and the ORF 5 product (14 kDa) as being responsible for symptom severity. Moreover, it was shown that the coat protein (CP) is important in regulating synthesis of the 14 kDa protein, excess production of which is lethal to infected plants. CP mutants defective in capsid formation infected plants systemically and induced severe necrotic symptoms. Conversely, CP mutants able to form apparently normal virus particles induced symptoms indistinguishable from those elicited by wild-type virus.


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