RNAs 1 and 2 of beet necrotic yellow vein virus (BNYVV) carry the functions enabling viral RNA replication, cell-to-cell movement, virus assembly and vascular movement of the virus in the systemic host Spinacea oleracea. In Beta macrocarpa, on the other hand, BNYVV RNA 3 is required for vascular movement. Replication-competent RNA 3 transcripts carrying various point mutations and deletions were coinnoculated with RNAs 1 and 2 to young leaves of B. macrocarpa and the ability of the virus to multiply on the inoculated leaves and to invade the plant systemically was examined. None of the RNA 3 mutants tested interfered with virus multiplication in the inoculated leaves. Point mutations designed to specifically block or truncate translation of the ORFs of the two known RNA 3 gene products, P25 and N, did not interfere with vascular movement. Vascular movement was not inhibited by deletions eliminating the short 5'-proximal ORF on RNA 3 (ORF A) or by point mutations blocking putative translation of the short 5'-proximal ORF (ORF S) on RNA 3sub, a subgenomic RNA derived from RNA 3. On the other hand, deletions in a 'core region' encompassing nucleotides 1033-1257 of RNA 3 completely blocked vascular movement of the virus while removal of sequences flanking the core region lowered its efficiency. The observations suggest that some feature of the RNA 3 sequence rather than an RNA-3 coded protein is important for vascular movement of BNYVV in B. macrocarpa.


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