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Characterization of alfalfa virus F, a new member of the genus Marafivirus

Nemchinov L.G., François S., Roumagnac P., Ogliastro M., Hammond R.W., Mollov D.S., Filloux D.. 2018. PloS One, 13 (9) : 11 p..

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0203477

Viral infections of alfalfa are widespread in major cultivation areas and their impact on alfalfa production may be underestimated. A new viral species, provisionally named alfalfa virus F (AVF), was identified using a virion-associated nucleic acid (VANA) metagenomics-based approach in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) samples collected in Southern France. The nucleotide sequence of the viral genome was determined by de-novo assembly of VANA reads and by 5'/3' RACE with viral RNA extracted from enriched viral particles or with total RNA, respectively. The virus shares the greatest degree of overall sequence identity (~78%) with Medicago sativa marafivirus 1 (MsMV1) recently deduced from alfalfa transcriptomic data. The tentative nucleotide sequence of the AVF coat protein shares ~83% identity with the corresponding region of MsMV1. A sequence search of the predicted single large ORF encoding a polyprotein of 235kDa in the Pfam database resulted in identification of five domains, characteristic of the genus Marafivirus, family Tymoviridae. The AVF genome also contains a conserved ¿marafibox¿, a 16-nt consensus sequence present in all known marafiviruses. Phylogenetic analysis of the complete nucleotide sequences of AVF and other viruses of the family Tymoviridae grouped AVF in the same cluster with MsMV1. In addition to 5' and 3' terminal extensions, the identity of the virus was confirmed by RT-PCRs with primers derived from VANA-contigs, transmission electron microscopy with virus-infected tissues and transient expression of the viral coat protein gene using a heterologous virus-based vector. Based on the criteria demarcating species in the genus Marafivirus that include overall sequence identity less than 80% and coat protein identity less than 90%, we propose that AVF represents a distinct viral species in the genus Marafivirus, family Tymoviridae.

Mots-clés : france

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