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Plant Cell. 1992 Oct;4(10):1321-31.

Transactivation of geminivirus AR1 and BR1 gene expression by the viral AL2 gene product occurs at the level of transcription.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210-1002.


Tomato golden mosaic virus is a bipartite geminivirus whose genome is divided between two circular DNA molecules. DNA A encodes functions necessary for viral DNA replication and encapsidation, whereas DNA B provides functions needed for movement in the host. Previous studies have shown that the viral AL2 gene product transactivates expression of the coat protein gene (AR1). We have investigated the role of the AL2 protein in the regulation of B component gene expression and examined the transcriptional and post-transcriptional components of this regulation. We found that AL2 protein is required for efficient expression of both the AR1 and BR1 genes, but not the BL1 gene. A comparison of steady state transcript levels and transcript levels determined by nuclear run-on analysis showed that activation of AR1 and BR1 gene expression by the AL2 protein occurs primarily at the level of transcription. These results provide an explanation for the lack of infectivity demonstrated by AL2 mutants, and suggest that the AL2 protein interacts with the cellular transcription machinery to activate the expression of rightward viral genes.

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