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Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2001 Jul;14(7):895-904.

A dysfunctional movement protein of tobacco mosaic virus interferes with targeting of wild-type movement protein to microtubules.

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Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Israel.


The Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) movement protein (MPTMV) mediates cell-to-cell viral trafficking by altering properties of the plasmodesmata (Pd) in infected cells. During the infection cycle, MPTMV becomes transiently associated with endomembranes, microfilaments, and microtubules (MT). It has been shown that the cell-to-cell spread of TMV is reduced in plants expressing the dysfunctional MP mutant MPNT-1. To expand our understanding of the MP function, we analyzed events occurring during the intracellular and intercellular targeting of MPTMV and MPNT-1 when expressed as a fusion protein to green fluorescent protein (GFP), either by biolistic bombardment in a viral-free system or from a recombinant virus. The accumulation of MPTMV:GFP, when expressed in a viral-free system, is similar to MPTMV:GFP in TMV-infected tissues. Pd localization and cell-to-cell spread are late events, occurring only after accumulation of MP:GFP in aggregate bodies and on MT in the target cell. MPNT-1:GFP localizes to MT but does not target to Pd nor does it move cell to cell. The spread of transiently expressed MPTMV:GFP in leaves of transgenic plants that produce MPNT-1 is reduced, and targeting of the MPTMV:GFP to the cytoskeleton is inhibited. Although MPTMV:GFP targets to the Pd in these plants, it is partially impaired for movement. It has been suggested that MPNT-1 interferes with host-dependent processes that occur during the intracellular targeting program that makes MP movement competent.

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