Molecular characterization of Lolium latent virus, proposed type member of a new genus in the family Flexiviridae
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Lolium latent virus (LoLV) was recently detected in the USA for the first time in ryegrass hybrids (Lolium perenne × Lolium multiflorum). The genome of one USA isolate, LoLV-US1, has now been fully sequenced. The positive strand genomic RNA is 7674 nucleotides (nt) long and is organized in five open reading frames (ORFs) encoding the replication-associated protein, the movement-associated triple gene block proteins and the coat protein (CP). The genome organization is similar to that of viruses in the genera Potexvirus and Foveavirus; however, analysis of the complete LoLV genomic sequence, phylogenetic analyses of the deduced amino acid (aa) sequences of the polymerase and the CP, presence of a putative ORF 6, and the in vivo detection of two CPs in equimolar amounts, highlight features peculiar to LoLV. These characteristics indicate that LoLV forms a monotypic group separate from existing genera and unassigned species within the family Flexiviridae, for which we propose the genus name Lolavirus. One-step RT-PCR was developed for quick and reliable LoLV detection.