Sesbania mosaic virus (SeMV) is a positive stranded RNA virus belonging to the genus Sobemovirus. Construction of an infectious clone is an essential step for deciphering the virus gene functions in vivo. Using Agrobacterium based transient expression system we show that SeMV icDNA is infectious on Sesbania grandiflora and Cyamopsis tetragonoloba plants. The efficiency of icDNA infection was found to be significantly high on Cyamopsis plants when compared to that on Sesbania grandiflora. The coat protein could be detected within 6 days post infiltration in the infiltrated leaves. Different species of viral RNA (double stranded and single stranded genomic and subgenomic RNA) could be detected upon northern analysis, suggesting that complete replication had taken place. Based on the analysis of the sequences at the genomic termini of progeny RNA from SeMV icDNA infiltrated leaves and those of its 3′ and 5′ terminal deletion mutants, we propose a possible mechanism for 3′ and 5′ end repair in vivo. Mutation of the cleavage sites in the polyproteins encoded by ORF 2 resulted in complete loss of infection by the icDNA, suggesting the importance of correct polyprotein processing at all the four cleavage sites for viral replication. Complementation analysis suggested that ORF 2 gene products can act in trans. However, the trans acting ability of ORF 2 gene products was abolished upon deletion of the N-terminal hydrophobic domain of polyprotein 2a and 2ab, suggesting that these products necessarily function at the replication site, where they are anchored to membranes
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