Date of this Version
Genetics and Molecular Research 15 (2): gmr.15028625.
In addition to regulating gene expression, RNA silencing is an essential antiviral defense system in plants. Triggered by double-stranded RNA, silencing results in degradation or translational repression of target transcripts. Viruses are inducers and targets of RNA silencing. To condition susceptibility, most plant viruses encode silencing suppressors that interfere with this process, such as the Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) NSs protein. The mechanism by which NSs suppresses RNA silencing and its role in viral infection and movement remain to be determined. We cloned NSs from the Hawaii isolate of TSWV and using two independent assays show for the first time that this protein restored pathogenicity and supported the formation of local infection foci by suppressor-deficient Turnip mosaic virus and Turnip crinkle virus. Demonstrating the suppression of RNA silencing directed against heterologous viruses establishes the foundation to determine the means used by NSs to block this antiviral process.