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Plant Physiol. 2000 Aug;123(4):1375-86.

Analysis of the N gene hypersensitive response induced by a fluorescently tagged tobacco mosaic virus.

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Unit of Cell Biology, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA, United Kingdom.


The hypersensitive response (HR) triggered on Nicotiana edwardsonii by tobacco mosaic virus was studied using a modified viral genome that directed expression of the green fluorescent protein. Inoculated plants were initially incubated at 32 degrees C to inhibit the N gene-mediated HR. Transfer to 20 degrees C initiated the HR, and fluorescent infection foci were monitored for early HR-associated events. Membrane damage, which preceded visible cell collapse by more than 3 h, was accompanied by a transient restriction of the xylem within infection sites. Following cell collapse and the rapid desiccation of tissue undergoing the HR, isolated, infected cells were detected at the margin of necrotic lesions. These virus-infected cells were able to reinitiate infection on transfer to 32 degrees C, however, if maintained at 20 degrees C they eventually died. The results indicate that the tobacco mosaic virus-induced HR is a two-phase process with an early stage culminating in rapid cell collapse and tissue desiccation followed by a more extended period during which the remaining infected cells are eliminated.

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