Papers in the Biological Sciences


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Published in the Journal of Virology (August 2010) 84(15): 7,793-7,802. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.02643-09. Copyright 2010, American Society for Microbiology. Used by permission.


The capsid protein (CP) of Turnip crinkle virus (TCV) is a multifunctional protein needed for virus assembly, suppression of RNA silencing-based antiviral defense, and long-distance movement in infected plants. In this report, we have examined genetic requirements for the different functions of TCV CP and evaluated the interdependence of these functions. A series of TCV mutants containing alterations in the CP coding region were generated. These alterations range from single-amino-acid substitutions and domain truncations to knockouts of CP translation. The latter category also contained two constructs in which the CP coding region was replaced by either the cDNA of a silencing suppressor of a different virus or that of green fluorescent protein. These mutants were used to infect Arabidopsis plants with diminished antiviral silencing capability (dcl2 dcl3 dcl4 plants). There was a strong correlation between the ability of mutants to reach systemic leaves and the silencing suppressor activity of mutant CP. Virus particles were not essential for entry of the viral genome into vascular bundles in the inoculated leaves in the absence of antiviral silencing. However, virus particles were necessary for egress of the viral genome from the vasculature of systemic leaves. Our experiments demonstrate that TCV CP not only allows the viral genome to access the systemic movement channel through silencing suppression but also ensures its smooth egress by way of assembled virus particles. These results illustrate that efficient long-distance movement of TCV requires both functions afforded by the CP.

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