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Watermelon crinkle leaf-associated virus 1 and watermelon crinkle leaf-associated virus 2 have a bipartite genome with molecular signatures typical of the members of the genus Coguvirus (family Phenuiviridae)
Archives of Virology  (IF2.574),  Pub Date : 2021-07-28, DOI: 10.1007/s00705-021-05181-0
Zhang, Song, Tian, Xin, Navarro, Beatriz, Di Serio, Francesco, Cao, Mengji

Watermelon crinkle leaf-associated virus 1 and watermelon crinkle leaf-associated virus 2 (WCLaV-1 and WCLaV-2), two unclassified members of the order Bunyavirales, are phylogenetically related to members of the genus Coguvirus (family Phenuiviridae). The genome of both viruses was reported previously to be composed of three RNA segments. However, the terminal sequences of two genomic RNA segments, namely those encoding the putative movement protein (MP) and the nucleocapsid (NP) protein, remained undetermined. High-throughput sequencing of total RNA and small RNA preparations, combined with reverse transcription PCR amplification followed by sequencing, revealed that the WCLaV-1 and WCLaV-2 possess a bipartite genome consisting of a negative-sense RNA1, encoding the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, and an ambisense RNA2, encoding the putative movement (MP) and nucleocapsid (NP) proteins. The two open reading frames of RNA2 are in opposite orientations and are separated by a long AU-rich intergenic region (IR) that may assume a hairpin conformation. RNA1 and RNA2 of both viruses share almost identical 5’ and 3’ termini, which are complementary to each other up to 20 nt. This genome organization is typical of members of the genus Coguvirus, with which WCLaV-1 and WCLaV-2 also share similar terminal 5’ and 3’ sequences of RNA1 and RNA2. These molecular features, together with phylogenetic reconstructions support the classification of WCLaV-1 and WCLaV2 as members of two new species in the genus Coguvirus.