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FEBS Lett. 1999 Nov 19;461(3):223-8.

A novel function for a ubiquitous plant enzyme pectin methylesterase: the host-cell receptor for the tobacco mosaic virus movement protein.

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A.N. Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.


Plant virus-encoded movement proteins promote viral spread between plant cells via plasmodesmata. The movement is assumed to require a plasmodesmata targeting signal to interact with still unidentified host factors presumably located on plasmodesmata and cell walls. The present work indicates that a ubiquitous cell wall-associated plant enzyme pectin methylesterase of Nicotiana tabacum L. specifically binds to the movement protein encoded by tobacco mosaic virus. We also show that pectin methylesterase is an RNA binding protein. These data suggest that pectin methylesterase is a host cell receptor involved in cell-to-cell movement of tobacco mosaic virus.

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