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1.  Cross-Species Functionality of Pararetroviral Elements Driving Ribosome Shunting 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(2):e1650.
Cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) and Rice tungro bacilliform virus (RTBV) belong to distinct genera of pararetroviruses infecting dicot and monocot plants, respectively. In both viruses, polycistronic translation of pregenomic (pg) RNA is initiated by shunting ribosomes that bypass a large region of the pgRNA leader with several short (s)ORFs and a stable stem-loop structure. The shunt requires translation of a 5′-proximal sORF terminating near the stem. In CaMV, mutations knocking out this sORF nearly abolish shunting and virus viability.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Here we show that two distant regions of the CaMV leader that form a minimal shunt configuration comprising the sORF, a bottom part of the stem, and a shunt landing sequence can be replaced by heterologous sequences that form a structurally similar configuration in RTBV without any dramatic effect on shunt-mediated translation and CaMV infectivity. The CaMV-RTBV chimeric leader sequence was largely stable over five viral passages in turnip plants: a few alterations that did eventually occur in the virus progenies are indicative of fine tuning of the chimeric sequence during adaptation to a new host.
Our findings demonstrate cross-species functionality of pararetroviral cis-elements driving ribosome shunting and evolutionary conservation of the shunt mechanism.
We are grateful to Matthias Müller and Sandra Pauli for technical assistance. This work was initiated at Friedrich Miescher Institute (Basel, Switzerland). We thank Prof. Thomas Boller for hosting the group at the Institute of Botany.
PMCID: PMC2241666  PMID: 18286203
2.  Endogenous pararetroviral sequences in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and related species 
BMC Plant Biology  2007;7:24.
Endogenous pararetroviral sequences (EPRVs) are a recently discovered class of repetitive sequences that is broadly distributed in the plant kingdom. The potential contribution of EPRVs to plant pathogenicity or, conversely, to virus resistance is just beginning to be explored. Some members of the family Solanaceae are particularly rich in EPRVs. In previous work, EPRVs have been characterized molecularly in various species of Nicotiana including N.tabacum (tobacco) and Solanum tuberosum (potato). Here we describe a family of EPRVs in cultivated tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) and a wild relative (S.habrochaites).
Molecular cloning and DNA sequence analysis revealed that tomato EPRVs (named LycEPRVs) are most closely related to those in tobacco. The sequence similarity of LycEPRVs in S.lycopersicum and S.habrochaites indicates they are potentially derived from the same pararetrovirus. DNA blot analysis revealed a similar genomic organization in the two species, but also some independent excision or insertion events after species separation, or flanking sequence divergence. LycEPRVs share with the tobacco elements a disrupted genomic structure and frequent association with retrotransposons. Fluorescence in situ hybridization revealed that copies of LycEPRV are dispersed on all chromosomes in predominantly heterochromatic regions. Methylation of LycEPRVs was detected in CHG and asymmetric CHH nucleotide groups. Although normally quiescent EPRVs can be reactivated and produce symptoms of infection in some Nicotiana interspecific hybrids, a similar pathogenicity of LycEPRVs could not be demonstrated in Solanum L. section Lycopersicon [Mill.] hybrids. Even in healthy plants, however, transcripts derived from multiple LycEPRV loci and short RNAs complementary to LycEPRVs were detected and were elevated upon infection with heterologous viruses encoding suppressors of PTGS.
The analysis of LycEPRVs provides further evidence for the extensive invasion of pararetroviral sequences into the genomes of solanaceous plants. The detection of asymmetric CHH methylation and short RNAs, which are hallmarks of RNAi in plants, suggests that LycEPRVs are controlled by an RNA-mediated silencing mechanism.
PMCID: PMC1899175  PMID: 17517142
3.  Transfection of Diaporthe perjuncta with Diaporthe RNA Virus 
Diaporthe perjuncta is a pathogen of grapevines worldwide. A positive-strand RNA virus, Diaporthe RNA virus (DaRV), occurs in hypovirulent isolates of this fungus. A virus-free isolate from a South African grapevine was transfected with in vitro-transcribed positive strands of DaRV. Based on reverse transcription-PCR and partial sequence analysis, the transfected virus was identified as DaRV. The in vitro-transcribed RNA transcripts used to transfect fungal spheroplasts contained parts of the vector at their distal ends. These vector sequences were separated from the DaRV genome during replication in the new host. The transfected isolate had morphological features that differed from those of the isogenic virus-free strain, including production of a yellow pigment, a decreased growth rate, and lack of sporulation. An apple-based pathogenicity test did not reveal any differences in virulence between the virus-free and DaRV-transfected isolates. This study showed that virus-free fungal hosts can be successfully transfected with viruses other than the Cryphonectria parasitica hypovirus.
PMCID: PMC165159  PMID: 12839766
4.  Evolution of Endogenous Sequences of Banana Streak Virus: What Can We Learn from Banana (Musa sp.) Evolution?▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(14):7346-7359.
Endogenous plant pararetroviruses (EPRVs) are viral sequences of the family Caulimoviridae integrated into the nuclear genome of numerous plant species. The ability of some endogenous sequences of Banana streak viruses (eBSVs) in the genome of banana (Musa sp.) to induce infections just like the virus itself was recently demonstrated (P. Gayral et al., J. Virol. 83:6697-6710, 2008). Although eBSVs probably arose from accidental events, infectious eBSVs constitute an extreme case of parasitism, as well as a newly described strategy for vertical virus transmission in plants. We investigated the early evolutionary stages of infectious eBSV for two distinct BSV species—GF (BSGFV) and Imové (BSImV)—through the study of their distribution, insertion polymorphism, and structure evolution among selected banana genotypes representative of the diversity of 60 wild Musa species and genotypes. To do so, the historical frame of host evolution was analyzed by inferring banana phylogeny from two chloroplast regions—matK and trnL-trnF—as well as from the nuclear genome, using 19 microsatellite loci. We demonstrated that both BSV species integrated recently in banana evolution, circa 640,000 years ago. The two infectious eBSVs were subjected to different selective pressures and showed distinct levels of rearrangement within their final structure. In addition, the molecular phylogenies of integrated and nonintegrated BSVs enabled us to establish the phylogenetic origins of eBSGFV and eBSImV.
PMCID: PMC2898222  PMID: 20427523
5.  Deep sequencing evidence from single grapevine plants reveals a virome dominated by mycoviruses 
Archives of Virology  2010;156(3):397-403.
We have characterized the virome in single grapevines by 454 high-throughput sequencing of double-stranded RNA recovered from the vine stem. The analysis revealed a substantial set of sequences similar to those of fungal viruses. Twenty-six putative fungal virus groups were identified from a single plant source. These represented half of all known mycoviral families including the Chrysoviridae, Hypoviridae, Narnaviridae, Partitiviridae, and Totiviridae. Three of the mycoviruses were associated with Botrytis cinerea, a common fungal pathogen of grapes. Most of the rest appeared to be undescribed. The presence of viral sequences identified by BLAST analysis was confirmed by sequencing PCR products generated from the starting material using primers designed from the genomic sequences of putative mycoviruses. To further characterize these sequences as fungal viruses, fungi from the grapevine tissue were cultured and screened with the same PCR probes. Five of the mycoviruses identified in the total grapevine extract were identified again in extracts of the fungal cultures.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00705-010-0869-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3044836  PMID: 21140178
6.  Evidence that the Human Foamy Virus Genome Is DNA 
Journal of Virology  1999;73(2):1565-1572.
The genomes of the spumaviruses, of which human foamy virus (HFV) is the prototype, are very similar to those of other complex retroviruses. However, in some aspects of the viral replicative cycle, HFV more closely resembles pararetroviruses such as hepatitis B virus. Previous work indicated that HFV extracellular particles contain apparently full-length double-stranded DNA, as well as RNA. We have further characterized the amount of DNA in particles and the role that this DNA has in viral replication. Experiments with the reverse transcriptase inhibitor 3′-azido-3′-deoxythymidine (AZT) suggest that reverse transcription is largely complete before extracellular virus infects new cells. In addition, we have been able to show that DNA extracted from virions can lead to production of virus after transfection. Taken together, these data suggest that complete, or nearly complete, proviral-length DNA is present in viral particles and that this DNA is sufficient for new rounds of viral replication.
PMCID: PMC103981  PMID: 9882362
7.  A Single Banana Streak Virus Integration Event in the Banana Genome as the Origin of Infectious Endogenous Pararetrovirus▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(13):6697-6710.
Sequencing of plant nuclear genomes reveals the widespread presence of integrated viral sequences known as endogenous pararetroviruses (EPRVs). Banana is one of the three plant species known to harbor infectious EPRVs. Musa balbisiana carries integrated copies of Banana streak virus (BSV), which are infectious by releasing virions in interspecific hybrids. Here, we analyze the organization of the EPRV of BSV Goldfinger (BSGfV) present in the wild diploid M. balbisiana cv. Pisang Klutuk Wulung (PKW) revealed by the study of Musa bacterial artificial chromosome resources and interspecific genetic cross. cv. PKW contains two similar EPRVs of BSGfV. Genotyping of these integrants and studies of their segregation pattern show an allelic insertion. Despite the fact that integrated BSGfV has undergone extensive rearrangement, both EPRVs contain the full-length viral genome. The high degree of sequence conservation between the integrated and episomal form of the virus indicates a recent integration event; however, only one allele is infectious. Analysis of BSGfV EPRV segregation among an F1 population from an interspecific genetic cross revealed that these EPRV sequences correspond to two alleles originating from a single integration event. We describe here for the first time the full genomic and genetic organization of the two EPRVs of BSGfV present in cv. PKW in response to the challenge facing both scientists and breeders to identify and generate genetic resources free from BSV. We discuss the consequences of this unique host-pathogen interaction in terms of genetic and genomic plant defenses versus strategies of infectious BSGfV EPRVs.
PMCID: PMC2447048  PMID: 18417582
8.  Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 
Grapevine leafroll disease (GLD) is one of the most important grapevine viral diseases affecting grapevines worldwide. The impact on vine health, crop yield, and quality is difficult to assess due to a high number of variables, but significant economic losses are consistently reported over the lifespan of a vineyard if intervention strategies are not implemented. Several viruses from the family Closteroviridae are associated with GLD. However, Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 (GLRaV-3), the type species for the genus Ampelovirus, is regarded as the most important causative agent. Here we provide a general overview on various aspects of GLRaV-3, with an emphasis on the latest advances in the characterization of the genome. The full genome of several isolates have recently been sequenced and annotated, revealing the existence of several genetic variants. The classification of these variants, based on their genome sequence, will be discussed and a guideline is presented to facilitate future comparative studies. The characterization of sgRNAs produced during the infection cycle of GLRaV-3 has given some insight into the replication strategy and the putative functionality of the ORFs. The latest nucleotide sequence based molecular diagnostic techniques were shown to be more sensitive than conventional serological assays and although ELISA is not as sensitive it remains valuable for high-throughput screening and complementary to molecular diagnostics. The application of next-generation sequencing is proving to be a valuable tool to study the complexity of viral infection as well as plant pathogen interaction. Next-generation sequencing data can provide information regarding disease complexes, variants of viral species, and abundance of particular viruses. This information can be used to develop more accurate diagnostic assays. Reliable virus screening in support of robust grapevine certification programs remains the cornerstone of GLD management.
PMCID: PMC3627144  PMID: 23596440
grapevine leafroll disease; GLRaV-3; ampelovirus; Closteroviridae; genetic variants
9.  Intracellular Hepadnavirus Nucleocapsids Are Selected for Secretion by Envelope Protein-Independent Membrane Binding 
Journal of Virology  2000;74(24):11472-11478.
Hepadnaviruses are DNA viruses but, as pararetroviruses, their morphogenesis initiates with the encapsidation of an RNA pregenome, and these viruses have therefore evolved mechanisms to exclude nucleocapsids that contain incompletely matured genomes from participating in budding and secretion. We provide here evidence that binding of hepadnavirus core particles from the cytosol to their target membranes is a distinct step in morphogenesis, discriminating among different populations of intracellular capsids. Using the duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) and a flotation assay, we found about half of the intracellular capsids to be membrane associated due to an intrinsic membrane-binding affinity. In contrast to free cytosolic capsids, this subpopulation contained largely mature, double-stranded DNA genomes and lacked core protein hyperphosphorylation, both features characteristic for secreted virions. Against expectation, however, the selective membrane attachment observed did not require the presence of the large DHBV envelope protein, which has been considered to be crucial for nucleocapsid-membrane interaction. Furthermore, removal of surface-exposed phosphate residues from nonfloating capsids by itself did not suffice to confer membrane affinity and, finally, hyperphosphorylation was absent from nonenveloped nucleocapsids that were released from DHBV-transfected cells. Collectively, these observations argue for a model in which nucleocapsid maturation, involving the viral genome, capsid structure, and capsid dephosphorylation, leads to the exposure of a membrane-binding signal as a step crucial for selecting the matured nucleocapsid to be incorporated into the capsid-independent budding of virus particles.
PMCID: PMC112426  PMID: 11090143
10.  RNA Silencing Is Resistant to Low-Temperature in Grapevine 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82652.
RNA silencing is a natural defence mechanism against viruses in plants, and transgenes expressing viral RNA-derived sequences were previously shown to confer silencing-based enhanced resistance against the cognate virus in several species. However, RNA silencing was shown to dysfunction at low temperatures in several species, questioning the relevance of this strategy in perennial plants such as grapevines, which are often exposed to low temperatures during the winter season. Here, we show that inverted-repeat (IR) constructs trigger a highly efficient silencing reaction in all somatic tissues in grapevines. Similarly to other plant species, IR-derived siRNAs trigger production of secondary transitive siRNAs. However, and in sharp contrast to other species tested to date where RNA silencing is hindered at low temperature, this process remained active in grapevine cultivated at 4°C. Consistently, siRNA levels remained steady in grapevines cultivated between 26°C and 4°C, whereas they are severely decreased in Arabidopsis grown at 15°C and almost undetectable at 4°C. Altogether, these results demonstrate that RNA silencing operates in grapevine in a conserved manner but is resistant to far lower temperatures than ever described in other species.
PMCID: PMC3869719  PMID: 24376561
11.  Characterization of the protease domain of Rice tungro bacilliform virus responsible for the processing of the capsid protein from the polyprotein 
Virology Journal  2005;2:33.
Rice tungro bacilliform virus (RTBV) is a pararetrovirus, and a member of the family Caulimoviridae in the genus Badnavirus. RTBV has a long open reading frame that encodes a large polyprotein (P3). Pararetroviruses show similarities with retroviruses in molecular organization and replication. P3 contains a putative movement protein (MP), the capsid protein (CP), the aspartate protease (PR) and the reverse transcriptase (RT) with a ribonuclease H activity. PR is a member of the cluster of retroviral proteases and serves to proteolytically process P3. Previous work established the N- and C-terminal amino acid sequences of CP and RT, processing of RT by PR, and estimated the molecular mass of PR by western blot assays.
A molecular mass of a protein that was associated with virions was determined by in-line HPLC electrospray ionization mass spectral analysis. Comparison with retroviral proteases amino acid sequences allowed the characterization of a putative protease domain in this protein. Structural modelling revealed strong resemblance with retroviral proteases, with overall folds surrounding the active site being well conserved. Expression in E. coli of putative domain was affected by the presence or absence of the active site in the construct. Analysis of processing of CP by PR, using pulse chase labelling experiments, demonstrated that the 37 kDa capsid protein was dependent on the presence of the protease in the constructs.
The findings suggest the characterization of the RTBV protease domain. Sequence analysis, structural modelling, in vitro expression studies are evidence to consider the putative domain as being the protease domain. Analysis of expression of different peptides corresponding to various domains of P3 suggests a processing of CP by PR. This work clarifies the organization of the RTBV polyprotein, and its processing by the RTBV protease.
PMCID: PMC1087892  PMID: 15831103
12.  Comparative Genome Analysis of “Candidatus Phytoplasma australiense” (Subgroup tuf-Australia I; rp-A) and “Ca. Phytoplasma asteris” Strains OY-M and AY-WB▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2008;190(11):3979-3991.
The chromosome sequence of “Candidatus Phytoplasma australiense” (subgroup tuf-Australia I; rp-A), associated with dieback in papaya, Australian grapevine yellows in grapevine, and several other important plant diseases, was determined. The circular chromosome is represented by 879,324 nucleotides, a GC content of 27%, and 839 protein-coding genes. Five hundred two of these protein-coding genes were functionally assigned, while 337 genes were hypothetical proteins with unknown function. Potential mobile units (PMUs) containing clusters of DNA repeats comprised 12.1% of the genome. These PMUs encoded genes involved in DNA replication, repair, and recombination; nucleotide transport and metabolism; translation; and ribosomal structure. Elements with similarities to phage integrases found in these mobile units were difficult to classify, as they were similar to both insertion sequences and bacteriophages. Comparative analysis of “Ca. Phytoplasma australiense” with “Ca. Phytoplasma asteris” strains OY-M and AY-WB showed that the gene order was more conserved between the closely related “Ca. Phytoplasma asteris” strains than to “Ca. Phytoplasma australiense.” Differences observed between “Ca. Phytoplasma australiense” and “Ca. Phytoplasma asteris” strains included the chromosome size (18,693 bp larger than OY-M), a larger number of genes with assigned function, and hypothetical proteins with unknown function.
PMCID: PMC2395047  PMID: 18359806
13.  A Stretch of 11 Amino Acids in the βB-βC Loop of the Coat Protein of Grapevine Fanleaf Virus Is Essential for Transmission by the Nematode Xiphinema index▿ †  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(16):7924-7933.
Grapevine fanleaf virus (GFLV) and Arabis mosaic virus (ArMV) from the genus Nepovirus, family Secoviridae, cause a severe degeneration of grapevines. GFLV and ArMV have a bipartite RNA genome and are transmitted specifically by the ectoparasitic nematodes Xiphinema index and Xiphinema diversicaudatum, respectively. The transmission specificity of both viruses maps to their respective RNA2-encoded coat protein (CP). To further delineate the GFLV CP determinants of transmission specificity, three-dimensional (3D) homology structure models of virions and CP subunits were constructed based on the crystal structure of Tobacco ringspot virus, the type member of the genus Nepovirus. The 3D models were examined to predict amino acids that are exposed at the external virion surface, highly conserved among GFLV isolates but divergent between GFLV and ArMV. Five short amino acid stretches that matched these topographical and sequence conservation criteria were selected and substituted in single and multiple combinations by their ArMV counterparts in a GFLV RNA2 cDNA clone. Among the 21 chimeric RNA2 molecules engineered, transcripts of only three of them induced systemic plant infection in the presence of GFLV RNA1. Nematode transmission assays of the three viable recombinant viruses showed that swapping a stretch of (i) 11 residues in the βB-βC loop near the icosahedral 3-fold axis abolished transmission by X. index but was insufficient to restore transmission by X. diversicaudatum and (ii) 7 residues in the βE-αB loop did not interfere with transmission by the two Xiphinema species. This study provides new insights into GFLV CP determinants of nematode transmission.
PMCID: PMC2916547  PMID: 20519403
14.  A Leafhopper-Transmissible DNA Virus with Novel Evolutionary Lineage in the Family Geminiviridae Implicated in Grapevine Redleaf Disease by Next-Generation Sequencing 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e64194.
A graft-transmissible disease displaying red veins, red blotches and total reddening of leaves in red-berried wine grape (Vitis vinifera L.) cultivars was observed in commercial vineyards. Next-generation sequencing technology was used to identify etiological agent(s) associated with this emerging disease, designated as grapevine redleaf disease (GRD). High quality RNA extracted from leaves of grape cultivars Merlot and Cabernet Franc with and without GRD symptoms was used to prepare cDNA libraries. Assembly of highly informative sequence reads generated from Illumina sequencing of cDNA libraries, followed by bioinformatic analyses of sequence contigs resulted in specific identification of taxonomically disparate viruses and viroids in samples with and without GRD symptoms. A single-stranded DNA virus, tentatively named Grapevine redleaf-associated virus (GRLaV), and Grapevine fanleaf virus were detected only in grapevines showing GRD symptoms. In contrast, Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus, Hop stunt viroid, Grapevine yellow speckle viroid 1, Citrus exocortis viroid and Citrus exocortis Yucatan viroid were present in both symptomatic and non-symptomatic grapevines. GRLaV was transmitted by the Virginia creeper leafhopper (Erythroneura ziczac Walsh) from grapevine-to-grapevine under greenhouse conditions. Molecular and phylogenetic analyses indicated that GRLaV, almost identical to recently reported Grapevine Cabernet Franc-associated virus from New York and Grapevine red blotch-associated virus from California, represents an evolutionarily distinct lineage in the family Geminiviridae with genome characteristics distinct from other leafhopper-transmitted geminiviruses. GRD significantly reduced fruit yield and affected berry quality parameters demonstrating negative impacts of the disease. Higher quantities of carbohydrates were present in symptomatic leaves suggesting their possible role in the expression of redleaf symptoms.
PMCID: PMC3673993  PMID: 23755117
15.  A divergent variant of Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 is present in California 
Virology Journal  2012;9:235.
Grapevine leafroll-associated viruses are a problem for grape production globally. Symptoms are caused by a number of distinct viral species. During a survey of Napa Valley vineyards (California, USA), we found evidence of a new variant of Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 (GLRaV-3). We isolated its genome from a symptomatic greenhouse-raised plant and fully sequenced it.
In a maximum likelihood analysis of representative GLRaV-3 gene sequences, the isolate grouped most closely with a recently sequenced variant from South Africa and a partial sequence from New Zealand. These highly divergent GLRaV-3 variants have predicted proteins that are more than 10% divergent from other GLRaV-3 variants, and appear to be missing an open reading frame for the p6 protein.
This divergent GLRaV-3 phylogroup is already present in grape-growing regions worldwide and is capable of causing symptoms of leafroll disease without the p6 protein.
PMCID: PMC3568029  PMID: 23062082
Ampelovirus; Wine; Mealybug
16.  Complete Genome Sequence of a Novel Vitivirus Isolated from Grapevine 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(17):9545.
A novel virus-like sequence from grapevine was identified by Illumina sequencing. The complete genome is 7,551 nucleotides in length, with polyadenylation at the 3′ end. Translation of the sequence revealed five open reading frames (ORFs). The genomic organization was most similar to those of vitiviruses. The polymerase (ORF1) and coat protein (ORF4) genes shared 31 to 49% nucleotide and 40 to 70% amino acid sequence identities, respectively, with other grapevine vitiviruses. The virus was tentatively named grapevine virus F (GVF).
PMCID: PMC3416117  PMID: 22879616
17.  3'-coterminal subgenomic RNAs and putative cis-acting elements of Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 reveals 'unique' features of gene expression strategy in the genus Ampelovirus 
Virology Journal  2010;7:180.
The family Closteroviridae comprises genera with monopartite genomes, Closterovirus and Ampelovirus, and with bipartite and tripartite genomes, Crinivirus. By contrast to closteroviruses in the genera Closterovirus and Crinivirus, much less is known about the molecular biology of viruses in the genus Ampelovirus, although they cause serious diseases in agriculturally important perennial crops like grapevines, pineapple, cherries and plums.
The gene expression and cis-acting elements of Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 (GLRaV-3; genus Ampelovirus) was examined and compared to that of other members of the family Closteroviridae. Six putative 3'-coterminal subgenomic (sg) RNAs were abundantly present in grapevine (Vitis vinifera) infected with GLRaV-3. The sgRNAs for coat protein (CP), p21, p20A and p20B were confirmed using gene-specific riboprobes in Northern blot analysis. The 5'-termini of sgRNAs specific to CP, p21, p20A and p20B were mapped in the 18,498 nucleotide (nt) virus genome and their leader sequences determined to be 48, 23, 95 and 125 nt, respectively. No conserved motifs were found around the transcription start site or in the leader sequence of these sgRNAs. The predicted secondary structure analysis of sequences around the start site failed to reveal any conserved motifs among the four sgRNAs. The GLRaV-3 isolate from Washington had a 737 nt long 5' nontranslated region (NTR) with a tandem repeat of 65 nt sequence and differed in sequence and predicted secondary structure with a South Africa isolate. Comparison of the dissimilar sequences of the 5'NTRs did not reveal any common predicted structures. The 3'NTR was shorter and more conserved. The lack of similarity among the cis-acting elements of the diverse viruses in the family Closteroviridae is another measure of the complexity of their evolution.
The results indicate that transcription regulation of GLRaV-3 sgRNAs appears to be different from members of the genus Closterovirus. An analysis of the genome sequence confirmed that GLRaV-3 has an unusually long 5'NTR of 737 nt compared to other monopartite members of the family Closteroviridae, with distinct differences in the sequence and predicted secondary structure when compared to the corresponding region of the GLRaV-3 isolate from South Africa.
PMCID: PMC2922190  PMID: 20682046
18.  Grapevine Fanleaf Virus Replication Occurs on Endoplasmic Reticulum-Derived Membranes 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(17):8808-8819.
Infection by Grapevine fanleaf nepovirus (GFLV), a bipartite RNA virus of positive polarity belonging to the Comoviridae family, causes extensive cytopathic modifications of the host endomembrane system that eventually culminate in the formation of a perinuclear “viral compartment.” We identified by immunoconfocal microscopy this compartment as the site of virus replication since it contained the RNA1-encoded proteins necessary for replication, newly synthesized viral RNA, and double-stranded replicative forms. In addition, by using transgenic T-BY2 protoplasts expressing green fluorescent protein in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) or in the Golgi apparatus (GA), we could directly show that GFLV replication induced a depletion of the cortical ER, together with a condensation and redistribution of ER-derived membranes, to generate the viral compartment. Brefeldin A, a drug known to inhibit vesicle trafficking between the GA and the ER, was found to inhibit GFLV replication. Cerulenin, a drug inhibiting de novo synthesis of phospholipids, also inhibited GFLV replication. These observations imply that GFLV replication depends both on ER-derived membrane recruitment and on de novo lipid synthesis. In contrast to proteins involved in viral replication, the 2B movement protein and, to a lesser extent, the 2C coat protein were not confined to the viral compartment but were transported toward the cell periphery, a finding consistent with their role in cell-to-cell movement of virus particles.
PMCID: PMC137001  PMID: 12163601
19.  Nucleotide sequence of Hungarian grapevine chrome mosaic nepovirus RNA1. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1989;17(19):7795-7807.
The nucleotide sequence of the RNA1 of hungarian grapevine chrome mosaic virus, a nepovirus very closely related to tomato black ring virus, has been determined from cDNA clones. It is 7212 nucleotides in length excluding the 3' terminal poly(A) tail and contains a large open reading frame extending from nucleotides 216 to 6971. The presumably encoded polyprotein is 2252 amino acids in length with a molecular weight of 250 kDa. The primary structure of the polyprotein was compared with that of other viral polyproteins, revealing the same general genetic organization as that of other picorna-like viruses (comoviruses, potyviruses and picornaviruses), except that an additional protein is suspected to occupy the N-terminus of the polyprotein.
PMCID: PMC334887  PMID: 2798128
20.  Endogenous Viral Elements in Animal Genomes 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(11):e1001191.
Integration into the nuclear genome of germ line cells can lead to vertical inheritance of retroviral genes as host alleles. For other viruses, germ line integration has only rarely been documented. Nonetheless, we identified endogenous viral elements (EVEs) derived from ten non-retroviral families by systematic in silico screening of animal genomes, including the first endogenous representatives of double-stranded RNA, reverse-transcribing DNA, and segmented RNA viruses, and the first endogenous DNA viruses in mammalian genomes. Phylogenetic and genomic analysis of EVEs across multiple host species revealed novel information about the origin and evolution of diverse virus groups. Furthermore, several of the elements identified here encode intact open reading frames or are expressed as mRNA. For one element in the primate lineage, we provide statistically robust evidence for exaptation. Our findings establish that genetic material derived from all known viral genome types and replication strategies can enter the animal germ line, greatly broadening the scope of paleovirological studies and indicating a more significant evolutionary role for gene flow from virus to animal genomes than has previously been recognized.
Author Summary
The presence of retrovirus sequences in animal genomes has been recognized since the 1970s, but is readily explained by the fact that these viruses integrate into chromosomal DNA as part of their normal replication cycle. Unexpectedly, however, we identified a large and diverse population of sequences in animal genomes that are derived from non-retroviral viruses. Analysis of these sequences—which represent all known virus genome types and replication strategies—reveals new information about the evolutionary history of viruses, in many cases providing the first and only direct evidence for their ancient origins. Additionally, we provide evidence that the functionality of one of these sequences has been maintained in the host genome over many millions of years, raising the possibility that captured viral sequences may have played a larger than expected role in host evolution.
PMCID: PMC2987831  PMID: 21124940
21.  Tetramerization Is a Conserved Feature of the Virion-Associated Protein in Plant Pararetroviruses 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(16):7739-7743.
All plant pararetroviruses belong to the Caulimoviridae family. This family contains six genera of viruses with different biological, serological, and molecular characteristics. Although some important mechanisms of viral replication and host infection are understood, much remains to be discovered about the many functions of the viral proteins. The focus of this study, the virion-associated protein (VAP), is conserved among all members of the group and contains a coiled-coil structure that has been shown to assemble as a tetramer in the case of cauliflower mosaic virus. We have used the yeast two-hybrid system to characterize self-association of the VAPs of four distinct plant pararetroviruses, each belonging to a different genus of Caulimoviridae. Chemical cross-linking confirmed that VAPs assemble into tetramers. Tetramerization is thus a common property of these proteins in plant pararetroviruses. The possible implications of this conserved feature for VAP function are discussed.
PMCID: PMC115011  PMID: 11462048
22.  Recent amplification and impact of MITEs on the genome of grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) 
Miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs) are a particular type of defective class II transposons present in genomes as highly homogeneous populations of small elements. Their high copy number and close association to genes make their potential impact on gene evolution particularly relevant. Here, we present a detailed analysis of the MITE families directly related to grapevine “cut-and-paste” transposons. Our results show that grapevine MITEs have transduplicated and amplified genomic sequences, including gene sequences and fragments of other mobile elements. Our results also show that although some of the MITE families were already present in the ancestor of the European and American Vitis wild species, they have been amplified and have been actively transposing accompanying grapevine domestication and breeding. We show that MITEs are abundant in grapevine and some of them are frequently inserted within the untranslated regions of grapevine genes. MITE insertions are highly polymorphic among grapevine cultivars, which frequently generate transcript variability. The data presented here show that MITEs have greatly contributed to the grapevine genetic diversity which has been used for grapevine domestication and breeding.
PMCID: PMC2817404  PMID: 20333179
Vitis; transposon; MITE
23.  A Novel Mycovirus That Is Related to the Human Pathogen Hepatitis E Virus and Rubi-Like Viruses ▿ †  
Journal of Virology  2008;83(4):1981-1991.
Previously, we reported that three double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) segments, designated L-, M-, and S-dsRNAs, were detected in Sclerotinia sclerotiorum strain Ep-1PN. Of these, the M-dsRNA segment was derived from the genomic RNA of a potexvirus-like positive-strand RNA virus, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum debilitation-associated RNA virus. Here, we present the complete nucleotide sequence of the L-dsRNA, which is 6,043 nucleotides in length, excluding the poly(A) tail. Sequence analysis revealed the presence of a single open reading frame (nucleotide positions 42 to 5936) that encodes a protein with significant similarity to the replicases of the “alphavirus-like” supergroup of positive-strand RNA viruses. A sequence comparison of the L-dsRNA-encoded putative replicase protein containing conserved methyltransferase, helicase, and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase motifs showed that it has significant sequence similarity to the replicase of Hepatitis E virus, a virus infecting humans. Furthermore, we present convincing evidence that the virus-like L-dsRNA could replicate independently with only a slight impact on growth and virulence of its host. Our results suggest that the L-dsRNA from strain Ep-1PN is derived from the genomic RNA of a positive-strand RNA virus, which we named Sclerotinia sclerotiorum RNA virus L (SsRV-L). As far as we know, this is the first report of a positive-strand RNA mycovirus that is related to a human virus. Phylogenetic and sequence analyses of the conserved motifs of the RNA replicase of SsRV-L showed that it clustered with the rubi-like viruses and that it is related to the plant clostero-, beny- and tobamoviruses and to the insect omegatetraviruses. Considering the fact that these related alphavirus-like positive-strand RNA viruses infect a wide variety of organisms, these findings suggest that the ancestral positive-strand RNA viruses might be of ancient origin and/or they might have radiated horizontally among vertebrates, insects, plants, and fungi.
PMCID: PMC2643757  PMID: 19073734
24.  The defective RNAs of Closteroviridae 
The family Closteroviridae consists of two genera, Closterovirus and Ampelovirus with monopartite genomes transmitted respectively by aphids and mealybugs and the Crinivirus with bipartite genomes transmitted by whiteflies. The Closteroviridae consists of more than 30 virus species, which differ considerably in their phytopathological significance. Some, like beet yellows virus and citrus tristeza virus (CTV) were associated for many decades with their respective hosts, sugar beets and citrus. Others, like the grapevine leafroll-associated ampeloviruses 1, and 3 were also associated with their grapevine hosts for long periods; however, difficulties in virus isolation hampered their molecular characterization. The majority of the recently identified Closteroviridae were probably associated with their vegetative propagated host plants for long periods and only detected through the considerable advances in dsRNA isolation and sequencing of PCR amplified replicons. Molecular characterization of CTV and several other Closteroviridae revealed that, in addition to genomic and subgenomic RNAs, infected plants contain several different subviral defective RNAs (dRNAs). The roles and biological functions of dRNAs associated with Closteroviridae remain terra incognita.
PMCID: PMC3661990  PMID: 23734149
citrus viruses; RNA viruses; RNA recombination; viral replicase; template-switching; non-replicative RNAs; virus replication; defective RNA
25.  High throughput approaches reveal splicing of primary microRNA transcripts and tissue specific expression of mature microRNAs in Vitis vinifera 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:558.
MicroRNAs are short (~21 base) single stranded RNAs that, in plants, are generally coded by specific genes and cleaved specifically from hairpin precursors. MicroRNAs are critical for the regulation of multiple developmental, stress related and other physiological processes in plants. The recent annotation of the genome of the grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) allowed the identification of many putative conserved microRNA precursors, grouped into multiple gene families.
Here we use oligonucleotide arrays to provide the first indication that many of these microRNAs show differential expression patterns between tissues and during the maturation of fruit in the grapevine. Furthermore we demonstrate that whole transcriptome sequencing and deep-sequencing of small RNA fractions can be used both to identify which microRNA precursors are expressed in different tissues and to estimate genomic coordinates and patterns of splicing and alternative splicing for many primary miRNA transcripts.
Our results show that many microRNAs are differentially expressed in different tissues and during fruit maturation in the grapevine. Furthermore, the demonstration that whole transcriptome sequencing can be used to identify candidate splicing events and approximate primary microRNA transcript coordinates represents a significant step towards the large-scale elucidation of mechanisms regulating the expression of microRNAs at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels.
PMCID: PMC2822795  PMID: 19939267

Results 1-25 (618704)