Genome evolution of tobacco mosaic virus populations during long-term passaging in a diverse range of hosts
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The effects of host changes on plant virus genome evolution was studied by nucleotide sequencing. A single tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum cv. Xanthi) plant was inoculated with in vitro transcripts from a plasmid clone of tobacco mosaic tobamovirus (TMV). This initial viral population was then transferred 11–12 times in parallel populations in 7 plant host species (1–4 replicates each) over a period of 413–515 days. Virion RNA was then isolated, reverse transcribed, amplified, cloned in bacteria, and sequenced. Portions of the coat protein, movement protein, and replicase genes were sequenced. Fourteen unique mutations were detected from a total of 188 clones (35,607 bases) sequenced, indicating a relatively small overall mutation rate of 3.1 × 10−4 nucleotide substitutions/base-year. A small Ka/Ks value of 0.09 was also found, indicating selection against amino acid changes. Eighty-five percent of the substitutions were transitions. A G’ST value of 0.7 for the coat protein gene suggested that host type affected sequence changes in this region of the genome, but χ2 analysis did not support this conclusion. This is the first study using sequencing to compare representative sample sections of a plant viral genome following a major selective disturbance such as extended passaging in an alternate host.
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