Molecular characterization of a partitivirus from Ophiostoma himal-ulmi

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The complete nucleotide sequences of two double-stranded (ds) RNA molecules, S1 (1,744 bp) and S2 (1,567 bp), isolated from an isolate HP62 of the Himalayan Dutch elm disease fungus, Ophiostoma himal-ulmi, were determined. RNA S1 had the potential to encode a protein, P1, of 539 amino acids (62.7 kDa), which contained sequence motifs characteristic of RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRps). A database search showed that P1 was closely related to RdRps of members of the genus Partitivirus in the family Partitiviridae. RNA S2 had the potential to encode a protein, P2, of 430 amino acids (46.3 kDa), which was related to capsid proteins of members of the genus Partitivirus. Virus particles isolated from isolate HP62 were shown to be isometric with a diameter of 30 nm, and to contain dsRNAs S1 and S2 and a single capsid protein of 46 kDa. N-terminal sequencing of tryptic peptides derived from the capsid protein proved unequivocally that it is encoded by RNA S2 and corresponds to protein P2. It is concluded that O. himal-ulmi isolate HP62 contains a new member of the genus Partitivirus, which is designated Ophiostoma partitivirus 1. A phylogenetic tree of RdRps of members of the family Partitiviridae showed that there are least two RdRp lineages of viruses currently classified in the genus Partitivirus. One of these lineages contained viruses with fungal hosts and viruses with plant hosts, raising the possibility of horizontal transmission of partitiviruses between plants and fungi. The partitivirus RdRp and capsid proteins appear to have evolved in parallel with the capsid proteins evolving much faster than the RdRps.

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