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Short description: Genus of viruses

Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) diagram and electron micrograph of virions
Virus classification e
(unranked): Virus
Realm: Riboviria
Kingdom: Orthornavirae
Phylum: Kitrinoviricota
Class: Alsuviricetes
Order: Martellivirales
Family: Virgaviridae
Genus: Tobamovirus

Tobamovirus is a genus of positive-strand RNA viruses[2] in the family Virgaviridae.[3] Many plants,[2] including tobacco, potato, tomato, and squash, serve as natural hosts. Diseases associated with this genus include: necrotic lesions on leaves.[3][4] The name Tobamovirus comes from the host and symptoms of the first virus discovered (Tobacco mosaic virus).[5]

There are four informal subgroups within this genus: these are the tobamoviruses that infect the brassicas, cucurbits, malvaceous, and solanaceous plants. The main differences between these groups are genome sequences, and respective range of host plants.[citation needed] There are 37 species in this genus.[6]


Tobamoviruses are non-enveloped, with helical rod[2] geometries, and helical symmetry. The diameter is around 18 nm, with a length of 300–310 nm. Genomes are linear and non-segmented, around 6.3–6.5kb in length.[3][4]


The RNA genome encodes at least four polypeptides:[3] these are the non-structural protein and the read-through product which are involved in virus replication (RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, RdRp); the movement protein (MP) which is necessary for the virus to move between cells and the coat protein (CP). The read-through portion of the RdRp may be expressed as a separate protein in TMV.[7] The virus is able to replicate without the movement or coat proteins, but the other two are essential. The non-structural protein has domains suggesting it is involved in RNA capping and the read-through product has a motif for an RNA polymerase. The movement proteins are made very early in the infection cycle and localized to the plasmodesmata, they are probably involved in host specificity as they are believed to interact with some host cell factors.[citation needed]

Life cycle

Viral replication is cytoplasmic. Entry into the host cell is achieved by penetration into the host cell. Replication follows the positive stranded RNA virus replication model. Positive stranded RNA virus transcription is the method of transcription. Translation takes place by suppression of termination. The virus exits the host cell by monopartite non-tubule guided viral movement. Plants serve as the natural host.[2] Transmission routes are mechanical.[3][4]


Tobamovirus RNA-dependent RNA polymerases are homologous with bromoviruses, ilarviruses, tobraviruses, and the carnation mottle virus.[2]

Routes of infection

The infection is localized to begin with but if the virus remains unchallenged it will spread via the vascular system into a systemic infection. The exact mechanism the virus uses to move throughout the plant is unknown but the interaction of pectin methylesterase, a cellular enzyme important for cell wall metabolism and plant development, with the movement protein has been implicated.[8]


These viruses are thought to have codiverged with their hosts from a common ancestor.[9] There are at least 3 distinct clades of tobamoviruses, which to some extent follow their host ranges: that is, there is one infecting solanaceous species; a second infecting cucurbits and legumes and a third infecting the crucifers.[10]



Phylogenetic tree of Tobamovirus

The genus contains the following species:[6]

Proposed members

Proposed, but currently unrecognised members of the genus include:[12]

  • Chara corallina virus (CCV)
  • Nicotiana velutina mosaic virus (NVMV)


  1. "Virus Taxonomy: 2018b Release" (in en). March 2019. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Strauss, J H; Strauss, E G (1988). "Evolution of RNA Viruses". Annual Review of Microbiology (Annual Reviews) 42 (1): 657–683. doi:10.1146/annurev.mi.42.100188.003301. ISSN 0066-4227. PMID 3060004. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "ICTV Online Report Virgaviridae". 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Viral Zone". ExPASy. 
  5. "MINUTES OF THE THIRD MEETING OF ICTV held in MADRID, 12 and 16 September 1975". 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Virus Taxonomy: 2020 Release". International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). March 2021. 
  7. Creager, Angela N.H.; Scholthof, Karen-Beth G.; Citovsky, Vitaly; Scholthof, Herman B. (March 1999). "Tobacco Mosaic Virus: Pioneering Research for a Century". The Plant Cell 11 (3): 301–8. doi:10.1105/tpc.11.3.301. PMID 10072391. 
  8. Chen, M. H.; Citovsky, V. (August 2003). "Systemic movement of a tobamovirus requires host cell pectin methylesterase". The Plant Journal 35 (3): 386–92. doi:10.1046/j.1365-313X.2003.01818.x. PMID 12887589. 
  9. Stobbe, A. H.; Melcher, U.; Palmer, M. W.; Roossinck, M. J.; Shen, G. (2012). "Co-divergence and host-switching in the evolution of tobamoviruses". Journal of General Virology 93 (2): 408–18. doi:10.1099/vir.0.034280-0. PMID 22049092. 
  10. Lartey, R. T.; Voss, T. C.; Melcher, U. (1996). "Tobamovirus evolution: Gene overlaps, recombination, and taxonomic implications". Molecular Biology and Evolution 13 (10): 1327–1338. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a025579. PMID 8952077. 
  11. Min, B. E.; Chung, B. N.; Kim, M. J.; Ha, J. H.; Lee, B. Y.; Ryu, K. H. (January 2006). "Cactus mild mottle virus is a new cactus-infecting tobamovirus". Archives of Virology 151 (1): 13–21. doi:10.1007/s00705-005-0617-7. PMID 16132178. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Descriptions of Plant Viruses: Tobamovirus Group". The Association of Applied Biologists (AAB). 

Further reading

External links

Wikidata ☰ Q3530126 entry