A DNA copy of DI RNA of cymbidium ringspot tombusvirus was cloned downstream of a phage T7 promoter. In vitro-transcribed RNA replicated in Nicotiana clevelandii when coinoculated with full-length viral genomic RNA transcripts and protected plants from apical necrosis. Artificial deletion mutants derived from the DI RNA clone showed that most of the central sequence block is necessary for replication. Hybrid DI RNA-satRNA clones were prepared and in vitro-synthesized RNA was inoculated to plants in the presence of helper viral RNA. There was replication only of in vitro transcripts derived from hybrid clones where satRNA sequences were inserted upstream or downstream from the central block, but not of those derived from clones where satRNA sequence replaced the central block. Progeny RNA of biologically active clones was either full-length or showed deletions depending on the insertion of satRNA sequences in DI RNA. DI RNA-satRNA constructs having part of the 5′ region exchanged were not replicated.
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