Analysis of differential selective forces acting on the coat protein (P3) of the plant virus family Luteoviridae

Marina W. Torres, Régis L. Corrêa, Carlos G. Schrago
Published December 27, 2005
Genet. Mol. Res. 4 (4): 790-802 (2005)

About the Authors
Marina W. Torres, Régis L. Corrêa, Carlos G. Schrago

Corresponding author
C.G. Schrago


The coat protein (CP) of the family Luteoviridae is directly associated with the success of infection. It participates in various steps of the virus life cycle, such as virion assembly, stability, systemic infection, and transmission. Despite its importance, extensive studies on the molecular evolution of this protein are lacking. In the present study, we investigate the action of differential selective forces on the CP coding region using maximum likelihood methods. We found that the protein is subjected to heterogeneous selective pressures and some sites may be evolving near neutrality. Based on the proposed 3-D model of the CP S-domain, we showed that nearly neutral sites are predominantly located in the region of the protein that faces the interior of the capsid, in close contact with the viral RNA, while highly conserved sites are mainly part of β-strands, in the protein’s major framework.

Key words: Neutral evolution, Maximum likelihood, PAML.

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