The complete nucleotide sequences of apple mosaic virus RNA 1 and 2 have been characterized. Apple mosaic virus RNA 1 is 3476 nucleotides in length and encodes a single large open reading frame (ORF), whereas apple mosaic virus RNA 2 is 2979 nucleotides in length and also encodes a single ORF. The amino acid sequences encoded by RNA 1 and 2 show similarity to all of the other ilarviruses for which sequence data are available, but both are more closely related to alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV) than to other ilarviruses. Points of similarity include the absence of ORF 2b, present on the RNA 2 of all previously characterized ilarviruses. The close relationship to AMV also occurs in the movement protein, encoded by RNA 3, but not with the coat protein. These data suggest that the present taxonomy should be revised, and that AMV should be considered an aphid-transmissible ilarvirus.


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