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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Cassava Brown Streak Viruses express second 6-kilodalton (6K2) protein with varied polarity and three dimensional (3D) structures: Basis for trait discrepancy between the virus species

Mero, Herieth; Lyantagaye, Sylvester Leonard; Bongcam Rudloff, Erik


Cassava Brown Streak Virus (CBSV) and Ugandan Cassava Brown Streak Virus (UCBSV) are the two among six virus species speculated to cause the most catastrophic Brown Streak Disease of Cassava (CBSD) in Africa and Asia. Cassava Brown Streak Virus (CBSV) is hard to breed resistance for compared to Ugandan Cassava Brown Streak Virus (UCBSV) species. This is exemplified by incidences of CBSV species rather than UCBSV species in elite breeding line, KBH 2006/0026 at Bagamoyo, Tanzania. It is not yet understood as to why CBSV species could breakdown CBSD-resistance in the KBH 2006/0026 unlike the UCBSV species. This marks the first in silico study conducted to understand molecular basis for the trait discrepancy between CBSV and UCBSV species from structural biology view point. Following ab initio modelling and analysis of physical-chemical properties of second 6-kilodalton (6K2) protein encoded by CBSV and UCBSV species, using ROBETTA server and Protein Parameters tool, respectively we report that; three dimensional (3D) structures and polarity of the protein differs significantly between the two virus species. (95% and 5%) and (85% and 15%) strains of 20 CBSV and 20 UCBSV species respectively, expressed the protein in homo-trimeric and homo-tetrameric forms, correspondingly. 95% and 85% of studied strain population of the two virus species expressed hydrophilic and hydrophobic 6K2, respectively. Based on findings of the curent study, we hypothesize that; (i) The hydrophilic 6K2 expressed by the CBSV species, favour its faster systemic movement via vascular tissues of cassava host and hence result into higher tissue titres than the UCBSV species encoding hydrophobic form of the protein. t and (ii) The hydrophilic 6K2 expressed byCBSV species have additional interaction advantage with Nuclear Inclusion b protease domain (NIb) and Viral genome-linked protein (VPg), components of Virus Replication Complex (VRC) and hence contributing to faster replication of viral genome than the hydrophobic 6K2 expressed by the UCBSV species. Experimental studies are needed to resolve the 3D structures of the 6K2, VPg and NIb and comprehend complex molecular interactions between them. We suggest that, the 6K2 gene should be targeted for improvement of RNA interference (RNAi)-directed transgenesis of virus-resistant cassava as a more effective way to control the CBSD besides breeding.


Modelling; Homology; Ab initio (de novo); Second 6-KiloDalton protein (6K2); Homo-tetramer; Homo-trimer; Oligomerization; Cassava Brown Streak Viruses (CBSVs)

Published in

Infection, Genetics and Evolution
2022, Volume: 98, article number: 105219