Ipomovirus – an atypical genus in the family Potyviridae transmitted by whiteflies



Ipomoviruses (genus Ipomovirus) are whitefly-transmitted viruses assigned to the family Potyviridae. They are characterised by filamentous flexible particles and a positive-sense single-stranded RNA (+ssRNA) genome. The viral genome is translated into a polyprotein precursor, which is processed into mature proteins and a short overlapping open reading frame. The genus Ipomovirus contains four accepted species and one unapproved species, and two other tentative members have recently been characterised. Ipomoviruses cause serious economic losses in many important crops, including cassava, sweet potato, cucurbits, tomato and aubergine. These viruses are transmitted by whiteflies in a non-circulative, semi-persistent manner, the virions being retained on the external surface of the vectors' mouthparts for a few days or weeks. Comparison of the available complete genome sequences of different ipomoviruses revealed differences in their genome organisation and a considerable variation in their proteins and conserved motifs that may reflect functional differences. This review summarises the current knowledge of the members within the genus Ipomovirus, focusing on genome organisation, taxonomic classification and the mechanism by which they are transmitted. © 2014 Society of Chemical Industry