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Virology. 2007 Jan 5;357(1):10-28. Epub 2006 Sep 7.

Synergism of a DNA and an RNA virus: enhanced tissue infiltration of the begomovirus Abutilon mosaic virus (AbMV) mediated by Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV).

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  • 1Department of Plant Molecular Biology and Plant Virology, Universit├Ąt Stuttgart, Institute of Biology, Pfaffenwaldring 57, D-70569 Stuttgart, Germany.


Replication of the begomovirus Abutilon mosaic virus (AbMV) is restricted to phloem nuclei, generating moderate levels of virus DNA. Co-infection with Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) evidently increased AbMV titers in Nicotiana benthamiana, tobacco, and tomato, resulting in synergistic symptom enhancement. In situ hybridization revealed that in double-infected leaves an increased number of nuclei contained elevated amounts of AbMV. Additionally, the begomoviral phloem-limitation was broken. Whereas CMV 3a movement protein-expressing tobacco plants did not exert any similar influence, the presence of CMV 2b silencing suppressor protein lead to enhanced AbMV titers and numbers of infected vascular cells. The findings prove that AbMV can replicate in nonvascular cells and represent the first report on a true synergism of an RNA/ssDNA virus combination in plants, in which CMV 2b protein plays a role. They indicate considerable consequences of mixed infections between begomo- and cucumoviruses on virus epidemiology and agriculture.

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