A naturally occurring deletion mutant of figwort mosaic virus (caulimovirus) is generated by RNA splicing. Academic Article uri icon


  • A naturally occurring deletion mutant is observed in plants infected with figwort mosaic virus (FMV), a caulimovirus. The encapsidated mutant genome is formed spontaneously in association with two different strains of FMV in four host plant species. The mutant also appears when cloned wild-type viral DNA is used as the inoculum. The deletion mutant alone is not infectious and it appears unable to replicate after its formation, even in the presence of wild-type virus. The gene for chloramphenicol acetyltransferase was inserted at different positions in the deletion mutant genome, and subsequent transient assays showed that gene expression of the mutant occurs despite the deletion. Sequence analyses of the mutant genome revealed a deletion of 1237-bp segment encompassing a major portion of the coat protein gene and the 5' end of the downstream reverse transcriptase gene. This deletion is associated with consensus signals for RNA splicing including the conserved 5' and 3' splice sites plus surrounding sequences, putative branch point(s) for lariat formation, and an extremely high adenosine content (41%) of the removed fragment. This suggests that splicing of the FMV full-length transcript has occurred prior to reverse transcription and this accounts for the presence and accumulation of encapsidated DNAs with the same deletion.

published proceedings

  • Virology

author list (cited authors)

  • Scholthof, H. B., Wu, F. C., Richins, R. D., & Shepherd, R. J.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Scholthof, HB||Wu, FC||Richins, RD||Shepherd, RJ

publication date

  • September 1991