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ORF43 of maize rayado fino virus is dispensable for systemic infection of maize and transmission by leafhoppers

Michael C. Edwards, John J. Weiland, Jane Todd, Lucy R. Stewart, Shunwen Lu
Virus genes 2016 v.52 no.2 pp. 303-307
Dalbulus maidis, Maize rayado fino virus, RNA, Zea mays, codons, corn, mutants, open reading frames, point mutation, translation (genetics), viral proteins, virus transmission, viruses
Maize rayado fino virus (MRFV) possesses an open reading frame (ORF43) predicted to encode a 43 kDa protein (p43) that has been postulated to be a viral movement protein. Using a clone of MRFV (pMRFV-US) from which infectious RNA can be produced, point mutations were introduced to either prevent initiation from three potential AUG initiation codons near the 5′-end of ORF43 or prematurely terminate translation of ORF43. Inoculation of maize seed via vascular puncture inoculation (VPI) resulted in plants exhibiting symptoms typical of MRFV infection for all mutants tested. Furthermore, corn leafhoppers (Dalbulus maidis) transmitted the virus mutants to healthy plants at a frequency similar to that for wild-type MRFV-US. Viral RNA recovered from plants infected with mutants both prior to and after leafhopper transmission retained mutations blocking ORF43 expression. The results indicate that ORF43 of MRFV is dispensable for both systemic infection of maize and transmission by leafhoppers.