Plant Pathology Department


Date of this Version



Tatineni S, French R. 2016. The coat protein and NIa protease of two Potyviridae family members independently confer superinfection exclusion. J Virol 90:10886 –10905. doi:10.1128/JVI.01697-16.


U.S. government work.


Superinfection exclusion (SIE) is an antagonistic virus-virus interaction whereby initial infection by one virus prevents subsequent infection by closely related viruses. Although SIE has been described in diverse viruses infecting plants, humans, and animals, its mechanisms, including involvement of specific viral determinants, are just beginning to be elucidated. In this study, SIE determinants encoded by two economically important wheat viruses, Wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV; genus Tritimovirus, family Potyviridae) and Triticum mosaic virus (TriMV; genus Poacevirus, family Potyviridae), were identified in gain-of-function experiments that used heterologous viruses to express individual virus-encoded proteins in wheat. Wheat plants infected with TriMV expressing WSMV P1, HC-Pro, P3, 6K1, CI, 6K2, NIa-VPg, or NIb cistrons permitted efficient superinfection by WSMV expressing green fluorescent protein (WSMV-GFP). In contrast, wheat infected with TriMV expressing WSMV NIa-Pro or coat protein (CP) substantially excluded superinfection by WSMV-GFP, suggesting that both of these cistrons are SIE effectors encoded by WSMV. Importantly, SIE is due to functional WSMV NIa-Pro or CP rather than their encoding RNAs, as altering the coded protein products by minimally changing RNA sequences led to abolishment of SIE. Deletion mutagenesis further revealed that elicitation of SIE by NIa-Pro requires the entire protein while CP requires only a 200-amino-acid (aa) middle fragment (aa 101 to 300) of the 349 aa. Strikingly, reciprocal experiments with WSMV-mediated expression of TriMV proteins showed that TriMV CP, and TriMV NIa-Pro to a lesser extent, likewise excluded superinfection by TriMV-GFP. Collectively, these data demonstrate that WSMV- and TriMV-encoded CP and NIa-Pro proteins are effectors of SIE and that these two proteins trigger SIE independently of each other.