Purified virions of bamboo mosaic potexvirus-V isolate (BaMV-V) were found to contain three major RNA species, the 6.4 kb genomic RNA and two RNAs of 2.0 and 1.0 kb, in addition to associated satellite RNA (0.85 kb). Results of Northern blot hybridization, primer extension analysis and cDNA sequencing showed that the packaged 2.0 and 1.0 kb RNAs of BaMV-V were subgenomic RNAs. In contrast, in the BaMV-O isolate, only genomic RNA was packaged and encapsidated subgenomic RNAs were not detectable. The transcription initiation sites for the 2.0 and 1.0 kb subgenomic RNAs of BaMV-V were located 1 1 and 16 nt upstream of the initiation codon of open reading frames (ORFs) 2 and 5, respectively. The 2.0 and 1.0 kb subgenomic RNAs functioned as messengers for the ORF2 protein and capsid protein, respectively. Packaging of the 1.0 kb subgenomic RNAs resulted in the formation of rod-shaped particles about 70 nm in length. Our results indicate that BaMV isolates have evolved distinctly for packaging of subgenomic RNAs.


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