The complete nucleotide sequence of the genome of a Taiwan isolate of papaya ringspot potyvirus (PRSV YK) was determined from three overlapping cDNA clones and by direct RNA sequencing. Comparison was made with the reported Hawaii isolate of PRSV HA. Both genomes are 10 326 nucleotides long, excluding the poly(A)-tail. They encode a polyprotein of 3 344 amino acids with a 5′ leader of 85 nucleotides and a 3′ non-translated region of 209 nucleotides. The two genomes share an overall nucleotide identity of 83.4% and an amino acid identity of 90.6%. The 3′ non-translated regions show 92.3% identity. The first 23 nucleotides of the leaders are identical, while the remaining parts of the leaders only show 51.6% identity. The P1 protein genes of the two isolates are very different, with 70.9% nucleotide identity and 66.7% encoded amino acids identity. However, the other viral proteins of the two virus isolates are similar, with a 82.5–89.8% nucleotide identity of their genes and 91.2–97.6% amino acid identity, indicating that they are strains of the same potyvirus. Analysis of the ratios of nucleotide differences to the actual amino acid changes revealed that there are only 2.63 nucleotide changes for each amino acid change in the P1 protein, whereas for the other proteins 4.0–16.4 nucleotide changes are required for each amino acid replacement. The P1 protein has 58% of all the differences of polyprotein. The unusual variation in the leader sequences and the P1 proteins suggests that the two PRSV strains were derived from different evolutionary pathways in different geographic areas.
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