Deep sequencing of small RNA (sRNA) populations in maize plants from southwest China resulted in the identification of a previously unknown dsRNA virus with a sequence and genome organization resembling that of a totivirus. The complete viral genome is 3,956 nucleotides in length and contains two open reading frames (ORFs) with the potential to produce a ORF1-ORF2 fusion protein through a -1 ribosomal frameshift translation mechanism. ORF1 encodes the putative capsid protein (CP), whereas the predicted product of ORF2 contains motifs typical of an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). Phylogenetic analysis using the amino acid sequences of putative RdRp fusion proteins showed that the new virus was grouped in a clade together with the totiviruses, suggesting that it is a new member of the genus Totivirus of the family Totiviridae . The virus is tentatively named “maize-associated totivirus (MATV)”. Our findings demonstrate that it is feasible to identify totiviruses by deep sequencing of small RNAs.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 1, 2016
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