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Virology. 2002 Feb 15;293(2):225-33.

A comparative analysis of the avirulence and translational transactivator functions of gene VI of Cauliflower mosaic virus.

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Department of Plant Microbiology and Pathology, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211, USA.


The primary function associated at present with the gene VI product of Cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) is that of a translational transactivator (TAV). In this capacity, it alters the host translational machinery to allow reinitiation of translation of other CaMV genes on the polycistronic 35S RNA of CaMV. In addition, the gene VI protein can elicit a specific type of plant defense response called the hypersensitive response (HR) in Nicotiana edwardsonii. In this study, we have adapted the agroinfiltration technique to compare the sequences of CaMV gene VI required for TAV function and elicitation of HR. To measure the activity of the TAV, we coagroinfiltrated gene VI of CaMV strain W260 with a bicistronic GUS reporter plasmid. TAV function could be assayed 4 days postinfiltration, before the onset of HR in N. edwardsonii. Through the use of the TAV and HR assays, we could show that the TAV functions of gene VI of CaMV strains W260 and D4 were equivalent, but only W260 gene VI elicited HR. A mutational analysis of W260 gene VI showed that the structural requirements for elicitation of HR were much more stringent than those for TAV function. Small deletions from either the 5' or 3' end of W260 gene VI abolished its ability to elicit HR, although the TAV function was retained in the mutant. The TAV function could also tolerate a small insertion within gene VI; this insertion abolished the elicitor function. This study provides direct evidence that the TAV function of gene VI is separate from its role as an elicitor of HR.

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