Prunus necrotic ringspot virus (PNRSV) occurs as numerous strains or isolates that vary widely in their pathogenic, biophysical and serological properties. Prior attempts to distinguish pathotypes based upon physical properties have not been successful; our approach was to examine the molecular properties that may distinguish these isolates. The nucleic acid sequence was determined from 1.65 kbp RT-PCR products derived from RNA 3 of seven distinct isolates of PNRSV that differ serologically and in pathology on sweet cherry. Sequence comparisons of ORF 3a (putative movement protein) and ORF 3b (coat protein) revealed single nucleotide and amino acid differences with strong correlations to serology and symptom types (pathotypes). Sequence differences between serotypes and pathotypes were also reflected in the overall phylogenetic relationships between the isolates.


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