Rice dwarf virus (RDV), a member of the family Reoviridae, has a 12-segmented dsRNA genome. Seven segments, designated S1, S2, S3, S5, S7, S8, and S9, encode structural proteins, while the remainder encode nonstructural proteins. One of the nonstructural proteins, Pns4, which is encoded by S4, was characterized. Pns4 was a phosphorylatable substrate in a phosphorylation assay in vivo; it associated with large cytoplasmic fibrils and formed novel minitubules in infected cultured cells of its leafhopper insect vector, as revealed by immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy. Early in infection, Pns4 was detected at the periphery of the viroplasm, and it was then observed on amorphous or fibrillar inclusions, which were identified as bundles of minitubules, at later stages of infection. Since viroplasms are believed to be the site of RDV replication, the intracellular location of Pns4 suggests that this protein might be involved in the process of assembly of the RDV virion.
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