Commelina yellow mottle virus (CoYMV) is the type member of the badnaviruses, a genus of plant pararetroviruses. The N-terminus of the polyprotein encoded by ORF III has limited similarity to known cell-to-cell movement proteins. To test the hypothesis that the N-terminus is required for viral movement, the phenotypes caused by mutations constructed in this region were determined. Similar to mutants affected in the reverse transcriptase, mutants affected in the putative movement protein were unable to cause a systemic infection. However, when the abilities of the mutated viral genomes to direct virion assembly and replication were tested using an in vitro stem- culture system, the mutants affected in the putative movement protein were found to assemble virions, whereas the reverse transcriptase mutants were unable to do so. Moreover, the putative movement protein mutants were shown to be replication competent by detection and mapping of one of the genomic discontinuities that are the hallmark of replication by reverse transcription. Thus the N-terminal region of ORF III is required for the systemic movement but not for the replication of CoYMV.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We acknowledge the partial support of I.T. by an NIH Predoctoral Training Fellowship (5T32-GM07323) and a University of Minnesota Graduate School Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship. This work was supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program 94-37303-0465 and USAID Program in Science and Technology Cooperation 5600-G-00-2017-0 to N.E.O. and B.E.L. We thank Drs. Sammy Sackey and Stephen Swain for review of the manuscript.