Polerovirus genomic variation

Katherine Latourrette, Natalie M. Holste, Hernan Garcia-Ruiz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The polerovirus (family Solemoviridae, genus Polerovirus) genome consists of single-, positive-strand RNA organized in overlapping open reading frames (ORFs) that, in addition to others, code for protein 0 (P0, a gene silencing suppressor), a coat protein (CP, ORF3), and a read-Through domain (ORF5) that is fused to the CP to form a CP-read-Through (RT) protein. The genus Polerovirus contains twenty-six virus species that infect a wide variety of plants from cereals to cucurbits, to peppers. Poleroviruses are transmitted by a wide range of aphid species in the genera Rhopalosiphum, Stiobion, Aphis, and Myzus. Aphid transmission is mediated both by the CP and by the CP-RT. In viruses, mutational robustness and structural flexibility are necessary for maintaining functionality in genetically diverse sets of host plants and vectors. Under this scenario, within a virus genome, mutations preferentially accumulate in areas that are determinants of host adaptation or vector transmission. In this study, we profiled genomic variation in poleroviruses. Consistent with their multifunctional nature, single-nucleotide variation and selection analyses showed that ORFs coding for P0 and the read-Through domain within the CP-RT are the most variable and contain the highest frequency of sites under positive selection. An order/disorder analysis showed that protein P0 is not disordered. In contrast, proteins CP-RT and virus protein genome-linked (VPg) contain areas of disorder. Disorder is a property of multifunctional proteins with multiple interaction partners. The results described here suggest that using contrasting mechanisms, P0, VPg, and CP-RT mediate adaptation to host plants and to vectors and are contributors to the broad host and vector range of poleroviruses. Profiling genetic variation across the polerovirus genome has practical applications in diagnostics, breeding for resistance, and identification of susceptibility genes and contributes to our understanding of virus interactions with their host, vectors, and environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberveab102
JournalVirus Evolution
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • CP-RT
  • P0
  • VPg
  • genome variation
  • genomic analysis
  • polerovirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology


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