Potyviridae

Abstract

The Potyviridae family comprises several genera of plant‐infecting single‐stranded positive‐sense RNA viruses, with flexible and filamentous virion particles. Currently, eight genera are recognised within the family, including the large genus Potyvirus with near 150 aphid‐transmitted viruses. The rest of genera, Brambyvirus, Bymovirus, Ipomovirus, Macluravirus, Poacevirus, Rymovirus and Tritimovirus, are differentiated by their genome composition and structure (two RNA molecules for bymoviruses, one for the rest of genera), by the vector organisms responsible of their dissemination and by genome sequence similarity. Globally very important as pathogens, they also have drawn the attention of the research community for years to study aspects such as taxonomy, evolution, virion structure, functional characterisation of viral proteins, diagnosis, control, interaction with hosts and vectors and even biotechnological applications. Recent advances concerning viruses within the family are being presented.

Key Concepts

  • Members of the family Potyviridae are positive‐strand RNA viruses infecting plants, with genomes directly translated in large polyproteins that are proteolytically processed by virus‐encoded proteinases.
  • The family Potyviridae is the largest group of RNA plant viruses. It consists of eight genera, seven of them including viruses with monopartite genomes and a genus that includes viruses with bipartite genomes.
  • Virus particles of members of the family Potyviridae are flexuous rods formed by multiple subunits of a single capsid protein.
  • The replication of viruses of the family Potyviridae takes place in virus‐induced membranous structures. Membrane vesicles induced by viral proteins, likely including replication complexes, move cell‐to‐cell during infection.
  • Viruses of the family Potyviridae may cause a large range of macroscopic symptoms, which in many cases result in serious diseases of crops with high socio‐economical relevance. A very distinctive microscopic feature of Potyviridae infections is the accumulation of pinwheel‐shaped cylindrical inclusions.
  • Members of the family Potyviridae usually can be transmitted by mechanical means; however, in nature, these viruses are vector‐transmitted by specific types of arthropods or plasmodiophorids, depending on the genera.
  • Some viruses in the family Potyviridae have restricted host ranges. However, many other members of the family are able to infect numerous plant species, and alternative hosts can greatly affect the incidence and epidemiology of these viruses.
  • The large number of viruses in the family illustrates their evolutive success with different driving forces operating during speciation, including host adaptation and recombination events when more than one virus infect the same host plant.
  • Both engineered vectors based on members of the family Potyviridae and genetic elements derived from them have been exploited as tools of biotechnological utility.
  • From both economic and scientific standpoints, the family Potyviridae can be considered in any top list, as evidenced by the fast‐growing numbers of hits in general or scientific literature Internet search engines.

Keywords: phytopathology; plant diseases; plant viruses; potyvirus; RNA viruses

Figure 1. Thin section of the cytoplasm of a Nicotiana benthamiana plant cell infected with Plum pox virus, showing ‘pinwheel’ inclusions. Reproduced with permission of D. López‐Abella, CIB‐CSIC (Madrid, Spain). Bar equals 200 nm.
Figure 2. Structure of potyvirus particles. (a) Cryo‐electron micrograph of a detail of the flexuous particles of soybean mosaic virus (SMV) (bar equals 25 nm). (d) Outside view of the modelisation of SMV particle structure by iterative helical real‐space reconstruction, along with transversal (b) and longitudinal (d) sections at the same scale [bar in (b) equals 5 nm, and also applies to (c) and (d)]. The virion presents a central hole surrounded by compact and well‐defined CP sub‐units disposed with its longest dimension diverging radially from the centre. The helical symmetry of the particle is estimated to be 8.8 sub‐units of CP per turn. Reproduced with permission of Amy Kendall and Gerald Stubbs, Vandervilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
Figure 3. Genomic maps of viruses in the family Potyviridae. (a) Below the scale in kilobases, the genomic ssRNA of a member of the genus potyvirus is shown as a solid line, with the covalently linked VPg protein depicted as a solid circle at the 5′‐end, and the poly A tail at the 3′‐end indicated by An. ORFs are shown as boxes divided in individual gene products with their names above. Vertical lines with arrowheads pointing downward mark the proteolytic cleavage sites, and the three proteinases responsible for the polyprotein processing are identified with the corresponding colour‐coded arrowheads inside the boxes. The pipo ORF is shown by a box that follows P3N (N‐terminal portion of P3) after the expected frameshifting point, generating a P3N+PIPO product. A similar organisation of gene products corresponds to brambyvirus, macluravirus, poacevirus, rymovirus, and tritimovirus and to two ipomoviruses, Sweet potato mild mottle virus (SPMMV) and Tomato mild mottle virus (ToMMV). (b) Variant of the previous organisation corresponding to a bymovirus, with the two separate RNA segments, RNA1 and RNA2. (c) Genomic organisation of ipomoviruses, with the type member SPMMV (upper panel), and variants with two proteases P1a + P1b and absence of HCPro (centre panel), as in Cucumber vein yellowing virus (CVYV), or with a single P1, absence of HCPro and presence of the HAM1h extra product between NIb and CP (bottom panel), as in Cassava brown streak virus (CBSV). Other variants not shown in the figure include the presence of a putative pispo ORF in the P1 region of several sweet potato‐infecting potyviruses (Li et al., 2012, Virus Genes 45, 118–125) and the presence of a conserved AlkB domain within the P1 of the brambyvirus Blackberry virus Y (Susaimuthu et al., 2008, Virus Res 131, 145–151).
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Further Reading

Elena SF and Rodrigo G (2012) Towards an integrated molecular model of plant‐virus interactions. Current Opinion in Virology 2: 719–724.

Gibbs A and Ohshima K (2010) Potyviruses and the digital revolution. Annual Review of Phytopathology 48: 205–223.

Ivanov KI, Eskelin K, Lohmus A and Mäkinen K (2014) Molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying potyvirus infection. The Journal of General Virology 95: 1415–1429.

Mäkinen K and Hafren A (2014) Intracellular coordination of potyviral RNA functions in infection. Frontiers in Plant Science 5: 110.

Pirone TP and Blanc S (1996) Helper‐dependent vector transmission of plant viruses. Annual Review of Phytopathology 34: 227–247.

Revers F, Le Gall O, Candresse T and Maule AJ (1999) New advances in understanding the molecular biology of plant/potyvirus interactions. Molecular Plant‐Microbe Interactions 12: 367–376.

Riechmann JL, Laín S and García JA (1992) Highlights and prospects of potyvirus molecular biology. The Journal of General Virology 73: 1–16.

Simón‐Mateo C and García JA (2011) Antiviral strategies in plants based on RNA silencing. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1809: 722–731.

Sorel M, Garcia JA and German‐Retana S (2014) The Potyviridae cylindrical inclusion helicase: a key multipartner and multifunctional protein. Molecular Plant‐Microbe Interactions 27: 215–226.

Truniger V and Aranda MA (2009) Recessive resistance to plant viruses. Advances in Virus Research 75: 119–159.

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Valli, Adrián, García, Juan A, and López‐Moya, Juan J(May 2015) Potyviridae. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000755.pub3]