The genome of rice grassy stunt virus (RGSV) consists of six RNA segments. The nucleotide (nt) sequences of the two smallest segments, RNAs 5 and 6, were determined and found to comprise 2704 and 2584 nt, respectively. The 5'- and 3'-terminal sequences of both RNAs were identical over a length of 21 nt and could potentially form a panhandle-like structure due to intramolecular complementarity. Each RNA segment contained a virus (v) sense open reading frame (ORF) in the 5'-proximate region, and a virus complementary (vc) ORF in the 3'-proximate region, indicating an ambisense coding strategy. The protein encoded by the ORF on the vc strand of RNA5 was identified as the viral nucleocapsid protein (M(r) 35927). The ORF on the v strand of RNA6 encoded a protein of M(r) 20581 which represented the major nonstructural protein, previously shown to be produced in RGSV-infected rice tissues. The predicted proteins encoded by RGSV RNAs 5 and 6 were only distantly similar in sequence to the four proteins encoded by RNAs 3 and 4 of other viruses belonging to the genus Tenuivirus. These low sequence similarities, together with the apparently distinct number of genome segments, set RGSV apart from the other tenuiviruses and indicate that it should be placed in a taxonomically separate genus.


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