Partial characterization of a new virus from ranunculus with a divided RNA genome and circular supercoiled thread-like particles
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An undescribed virus, here named ranunculus white mottle virus, was isolated in Italy from cultivated ranunculus showing mottle and distortion of leaves. The virus was mechanically transmissible to several herbaceous hosts. In negative stain, the particles appeared as circularised supercoiled threads 3 nm in diameter of different contour lengths; in some conditions the circles collapsed to form linear pseudobranched structures 9 nm in diameter. Immunolabeling of thin sections showed that viral antigen was widely distributed in the cytoplasm of parenchyma cells. The virus was not serologically related to the morphologically similar tenuiviruses, citrus psorosis-ringspot virus and tulip mild mottle mosaic virus. A major 43 kDa protein was present in purified preparations and in infected plant tissue, as also was a minor 28 kDa protein, serologically related to the major one. Nucleic acids extracted from purified particles consisted of at least three RNAs, of approximately 7.5, 1.8 and 1.5 kb, which appeared partly in single- and partly in double-stranded form. Purified preparations, but not viral RNAs, when mechanically inoculated, were infectious. Host range, tissue tropism, particle morphology and coat protein size place the virus closest to citrus psorosis-ringspot and tulip mild mottle mosaic viruses. These three viruses in turn show similarities with the Tenuiviruses and Bunyaviridae.
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