Virusdisease 2014 Dec 28;25(4):460-6. Epub 2014 Nov 28.

Molecular Virology Lab, Division of Crop Protection, National Research Centre for Banana, Thogamalai Road, Thayanur Post, Tiruchirapalli, 620102 Tamil Nadu India.

Banana bract mosaic virus (BBrMV) is a serious constraint in the production of banana and plantain in India. In this study, we have cloned, sequenced and analyzed the helper component proteinase (HC-Pro) gene of 22 isolates from India and compared with previously reported BBrMV isolates. Sequence identity of BBrMV isolates encoding HC-Pro gene, were 92-100 % both at the nucleotide (nt) and amino acid level. Phylogenetic analysis based on nt sequences of non recombinant isolates showed that TN15, TN9 and TN24 formed one cluster and all the remaining isolates formed into another cluster. Different functional motifs in the central region of HC-Pro gene of BBrMV isolates were found conserved. Four potential recombinants with a total of 15 breakpoints were mostly observed at the N and a few from C terminal regions. The codon based selection analysis revealed that most of the codons were under purifying or negative selection except a codon at position 74 which was under positive selection. It is likely that recombination identified in Indian BBrMV isolates, along with strong purifying selection, enhances the speed of elimination of deleterious mutations in the HC-Pro gene. This study suggested that negative selection and recombination were important evolutionary factors driving the genetic diversification and population structure of Indian BBrMV isolates. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the diversity analysis and occurrence of recombination in the HC-Pro gene of BBrMV.

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