Sequence analysis of Potato leafroll virus isolates reveals genetic stability, major evolutionary events and differential selection pressure between overlapping reading frame products

J Gen Virol. 2002 Jul;83(Pt 7):1799-1807. doi: 10.1099/0022-1317-83-7-1799.


In order to investigate the genetic diversity of Potato leafroll virus (PLRV), seven new complete genomic sequences of isolates collected worldwide were compared with the five sequences available in GenBank. Then, a restricted polymorphic region of the genome was chosen to further analyse new sequences. The sequences of PLRV open reading frames (ORFs) 3 and 4 were also compared with those of two other poleroviruses and the non-synonymous to synonymous substitution ratio distribution was analysed in overlapping and non-overlapping regions of the genome using maximum-likelihood models. Results confirmed that PLRV sequences from around the world are very closely related and showed that the region encoding protein P0 allowed the detection of three groups of isolates. When compared to other poleroviruses, PLRV was the most conserved in both ORFs 3 and 4. However, the results suggest that important events, such as deletion, mutation at a stop codon and intraspecific homologous recombination events, have occurred during the evolution of PLRV. Finally, it was shown that the translation products of ORFs 0 and 3 are significantly more conserved than those of the overlapping ORFs 1 and 4, respectively. All together, the results allow the proposal of new hypotheses to explain the apparent genetic stability of PLRV and its evolution.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Viruses / classification
  • Plant Viruses / genetics*
  • RNA Viruses / classification
  • RNA Viruses / genetics
  • Solanum tuberosum / virology*


  • Plant Proteins