Sequence analysis revealed that rice dwarf phytoreovirus segment S12 is 1066 nucleotides long with a small out-of-phase, overlapping open reading frame (ORF) as well as a major ORF. The large ORF (positions 42 to 980) encodes 312 amino acids, while the small one (bases 313 to 591) encodes 92 amino acids with an additional in-frame AUG codon (positions 337-339) 24 nucleotides downstream from the first one. Transcripts from a full-length cDNA directed the in vitro synthesis of three polypeptides of 33 (considered to be translated from the long ORF), 8, and 7 kDa. Alteration of each of the two ATG codons on the small ORF demonstrated their involvement in the generation of the 8- and 7-kDa polypeptides. Although it is still unknown whether these proteins are expressed in vivo, the small ORF is shown to be conserved in S9s of two other members of the genus Phytoreovirus, rice gall dwarf virus and wound tumor virus, suggesting its common, important function.
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