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Plant J. 2000 May;22(4):315-25.

Cell-to-cell movement of TMV RNA is temperature-dependent and corresponds to the association of movement protein with microtubules.

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Friedrich Miescher-Institute, Maulbeerstrasse 66, CH-4058 Basel, Switzerland.


The movement protein (MP) of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) is essential for spread of the viral RNA genome from cell to cell. During infection, the MP associates with microtubules, and it has been proposed that the cytoskeleton transports the viral ribonucleoprotein complex from ER sites of synthesis to plasmodesmata through which infection spreads into adjacent cells. However, microtubule association of MP was observed in cells undergoing late infection rather than in cells undergoing early infection at the leading edge of expanding infection sites where virus RNA cell-to-cell spread occurs. Therefore, alternative roles for microtubules in virus infection have been proposed, including a role in MP degradation. To further investigate the role of microtubules in virus pathogenesis, we tested the efficiency of cell-to-cell spread of infection and microtubule association of the MP in response to changes in temperature. We show that the subcellular distribution of MP is temperature-dependent and that a higher efficiency of intercellular transport of virus RNA at elevated temperatures corresponds to an increased association of MP with microtubules early in infection.

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