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Construction and characterization of an infectious cDNA clone of potato virus S developed from selected populations that survived genetic bottlenecks

Li, Xin, Hataya, Tatsuji
Virology journal 2019 v.16 no.1 pp. 18
Chenopodium quinoa, Nicotiana occidentalis, Potato virus S, amino acid substitution, clones, coat proteins, complementary DNA, consensus sequence, genome, genomics, leaves, messenger RNA, methyltransferases, open reading frames, pathogenicity, proteinases, reverse genetics, sequence diversity
BACKGROUND: Infectious cDNA clones are a powerful tool for studies on RNA viruses using reverse genetics. Potato virus S (PVS) is a carlavirus with a worldwide distribution. Although the complete genome sequences of many PVS isolates have been reported, the construction of an infectious cDNA clone of PVS is yet to be reported. The aim of this study is the development and molecular characterization of an infectious cDNA clone of PVS. METHODS: A full-length cDNA clone pPVS-H-FL-AB was constructed by connecting eight cDNA clones of PVS isolate H95. Capped RNA transcripts from pPVS-H-FL-AB and a modified clone pPVS-H-FL-H, containing the consensus genome sequence of PVS-H95, proved to be non-infectious. Therefore, a full-length cDNA clone pPVS-H-FL-β was reconstructed from PVS-H00, isolated from PVS-H95 populations by repeating a single local lesion isolation in Chenopodium quinoa three times; PVS-H00 appeared to be a selected variant that survived genetic bottlenecks. The sequence of cDNA clone pPVS-H-FL-β was determined as the genome sequence of PVS-H00 and compared with the consensus sequence of PVS-H95 genome. RESULTS: All Nicotiana occidentalis plants inoculated with ≥0.2 μg capped RNA transcripts from pPVS-H-FL-β developed symptoms on upper leaves, as observed with PVS-H00 inoculation. Similar levels of viral genomic and subgenomic RNAs and coat protein were detected in systemically infected leaves. Sequence comparison of PVS-H95 and PVS-H00 revealed 370 nucleotide polymorphisms (4.4% of the entire genome sequence), causing 91 amino acid substitutions in six open reading frames (ORFs). The infectivity of chimeric RNAs derived from recombinants between the two cDNA clones revealed that the lack of infectivity of pPVS-H-FL-H transcripts was due to ORF1, which encodes replicase and harbors 80 amino acid substitutions compared with pPVS-H-FL-β. Approximately 71.3% amino acid substitutions in replicase were located within the variable region of unknown function between the putative methyltransferase and ovarian tumor-like protease domains. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report of the development of an infectious cDNA clone of PVS. Our analyses suggest that PVS population within a plant exists as quasispecies and the replicase sequence diversity of PVS obstruct the construction of a full-length infectious cDNA clone.