Milk vetch dwarf virus (MDV) is a member of the proposed genus Nanovirus, and its genome is composed of multiple, circular ssDNA components of about 1 kb. We have cloned and sequenced ten ssDNA components and designated them MDV-C1 to C10. Each DNA component contains one potential major open reading frame, and contains a putative stem-loop structure in the non-coding region. Notably, four components (C1, C2, C3 and C10) encode distinct replication-associated (Rep) proteins of 33 kDa, which show only limited (42-57%) amino acid identity. The six other components encode proteins with calculated molecular masses ranging from 12.7 to 19.7 kDa. Comparison of the sequences with those of other nanoviruses reveals that MDV is closely related to faba bean necrotic yellows virus (FBNYV) and subterranean clover stunt virus (SCSV). Six putative MDV genome products, including one Rep and five non-Rep proteins, show high (70.4-90.9%) amino acid identity to the corresponding six FBNYV proteins, whereas two other Rep proteins encoded by MDV-C2 and C3 are 82.3% and 73.0% identical to those encoded by SCSV-C2 and C6, respectively. These results indicate that MDV, FBNYV and SCSV have diverged from a common origin, which had multiple Rep components. In addition, the putative proteins encoded by MDV-C4 and its homologues contain a consensus retinoblastoma-binding motif, suggesting that they may be involved in controlling the host cell cycle.


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