cDNA clones of RNA-2 of two isolates of squash mosaic virus (SqMV) were constructed and sequenced, revealing 87% sequence similarity. In Northern blot hybridization analyses, DNA probes made from these clones defined two SqMV hybridization subgroups. This grouping was verified by reciprocal hybridizations of purified RNA from five SqMV isolates, as probed with cDNA made from a member of each subgroup. Comparison of the RNA-2 sequence among the two SqMV isolates, and the reported sequence of other comoviruses, showed that SqMV constitutes one of four major branches in a phylogenetic tree of the genus. Analysis of the terminal noncoding sequences showed that although potentially similar folding patterns may form, neither nucleotide sequence nor secondary structural elements are highly conserved among comoviruses. In vitro translation products from purified RNA-1 of each subgroup (encoding the viral proteases) were found to process the polyprotein generated by in vitro translation of purified RNA-2 from either subgroup.


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