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Tridimensional model structure and patterns of molecular evolution of Pepino mosaic virus TGBp3 protein

Beata Hasiów-Jaroszewska1*, Anna Czerwoniec2, Henryk Pospieszny1 and Santiago F Elena34

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Plant Protection-National Research Institute, ul. Wł. Węgorka 20, 60-318 Poznań, Poland

2 Bioinformatics Laboratory, Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Umultowska 89, PL-61-614 Poznan, Poland

3 Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas, CSIC-UPV, 46022 València, Spain

4 The Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, NM87501, USA

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Virology Journal 2011, 8:318  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-318

Published: 24 June 2011



Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV) is considered one of the most dangerous pathogens infecting tomatoes worldwide. The virus is highly diverse and four distinct genotypes, as well as inter-strain recombinants, have already been described. The isolates display a wide range on symptoms on infected plant species, ranging from mild mosaic to severe necrosis. However, little is known about the mechanisms and pattern of PepMV molecular evolution and about the role of individual proteins in host-pathogen interactions.


The nucleotide sequences of the triple gene block 3 (TGB3) from PepMV isolates varying in symptomatology and geographic origin have been analyzed. The modes and patterns of molecular evolution of the TGBp3 protein were investigated by evaluating the selective constraints to which particular amino acid residues have been subjected during the course of diversification. The tridimensional structure of TGBp3 protein has been modeled de novo using the Rosetta algorithm. The correlation between symptoms development and location of specific amino acids residues was analyzed.


The results have shown that TGBp3 has been evolving mainly under the action of purifying selection operating on several amino acid sites, thus highlighting its functional role during PepMV infection. Interestingly, amino acid 67, which has been previously shown to be a necrosis determinant, was found to be under positive selection.


Identification of diverse selection events in TGB3p3 will help unraveling its biological functions and is essential to an understanding of the evolutionary constraints exerted on the Potexvirus genome. The estimated tridimensional structure of TGBp3 will serve as a platform for further sequence, structural and function analysis and will stimulate new experimental advances.

molecular evolution; PepMV; protein modeling; selective constraints; TGBp3; virus evolution