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Open Access Research article

Reconstruction of putative DNA virus from endogenous rice tungro bacilliform virus-like sequences in the rice genome: implications for integration and evolution

Motoyuki Kunii1, Masanori Kanda1, Hironori Nagano1, Ichiro Uyeda2, Yuji Kishima1* and Yoshio Sano1

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Plant Breeding, Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-8589, Japan

2 Laboratory of Plant Pathology, Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-8589, Japan

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BMC Genomics 2004, 5:80  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-5-80

Published: 18 October 2004



Plant genomes contain various kinds of repetitive sequences such as transposable elements, microsatellites, tandem repeats and virus-like sequences. Most of them, with the exception of virus-like sequences, do not allow us to trace their origins nor to follow the process of their integration into the host genome. Recent discoveries of virus-like sequences in plant genomes led us to set the objective of elucidating the origin of the repetitive sequences. Endogenous rice tungro bacilliform virus (RTBV)-like sequences (ERTBVs) have been found throughout the rice genome. Here, we reconstructed putative virus structures from RTBV-like sequences in the rice genome and characterized to understand evolutionary implication, integration manner and involvements of endogenous virus segments in the corresponding disease response.


We have collected ERTBVs from the rice genomes. They contain rearranged structures and no intact ORFs. The identified ERTBV segments were shown to be phylogenetically divided into three clusters. For each phylogenetic cluster, we were able to make a consensus alignment for a circular virus-like structure carrying two complete ORFs. Comparisons of DNA and amino acid sequences suggested the closely relationship between ERTBV and RTBV. The Oryza AA-genome species vary in the ERTBV copy number. The species carrying low-copy-number of ERTBV segments have been reported to be extremely susceptible to RTBV. The DNA methylation state of the ERTBV sequences was correlated with their copy number in the genome.


These ERTBV segments are unlikely to have functional potential as a virus. However, these sequences facilitate to establish putative virus that provided information underlying virus integration and evolutionary relationship with existing virus. Comparison of ERTBV among the Oryza AA-genome species allowed us to speculate a possible role of endogenous virus segments against its related disease.