Rice tungro, the most important virus disease of rice in South and Southeast Asia, is caused by a complex of two viruses, rice tungro bacilliform virus (RTBV) and rice tungro spherical virus (RTSV). RTBV is a plant pararetrovirus with bacilliform particles, the structure of which is based on T = 3 icosahedral symmetry cut across the threefold axis.The particles encapsidate a circular double-stranded DNA of 8 kbp that encodes four proteins. The current information on the properties, functions, and expression of these proteins is discussed, as is the evidence for replication by reverse transcription. Two major strains of RTBV have been recognized, one from the Indian subcontinent and the other from Southeast Asia. RTSV particles contain a single-stranded RNA genome of 12 kb that encodes a large polyprotein and possibly one or two smaller proteins. The properties and processing of the polyprotein are described and the resemblance to picornaviruses noted.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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