Rupestris stem pitting (RSP), a component of the rugose wood complex, is one of the most widespread graft-transmissible diseases of grapevines. Here we report on the consistent association of a high molecular mass dsRNA (ca. 8.7 kbp) with RSP. The dsRNA was reverse-transcribed and cDNAs generated were cloned into Lambda ZAP II. Sequence analysis of the cDNA clones showed that the dsRNA was of viral origin and the putative virus was designated rupestris stem pitting associated virus-1 (RSPaV-1). The genome of RSPaV-1 consists of 8726 nt excluding a poly(A) tail at the 3' terminus. It has five potential open reading frames which have the capacity to code for the replicase (ORF1), the triple gene block (ORF2-4) and the coat protein (ORF5). Comparison of the genome structure and nucleotide and amino acid sequences indicated similarities of RSPaV-1 to apple stem pitting virus, and to a lesser extent, to potato virus M carlavirus. The possibility that different strains of RSPaV-1 or other viruses are associated with RSP is discussed.


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