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Virology. 2004 May 20;323(1):37-48.

Cowpea mosaic virus RNA-1 acts as an amplicon whose effects can be counteracted by a RNA-2-encoded suppressor of silencing.

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John Innes Centre, Colney Lane, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK.


Lines of Nicotiana benthamiana transgenic for full-length copies of both Cowpea mosaic virus (CPMV) genomic RNAs, either singly or together, have been produced. Plants transgenic for both RNAs developed symptoms characteristic of a CPMV infection. When plants transgenic for RNA-1 were agro-inoculated with RNA-2, no infection developed and the plants were also resistant to challenge with CPMV. By contrast, plants transgenic for RNA-2 became infected when agro-inoculated with RNA-1 and were fully susceptible to CPMV infection. The resistance of RNA-1 transgenic plants was shown to be related to the ability of RNA-1 to self-replicate and act as an amplicon. The ability of transgenically expressed RNA-2 to counteract the amplicon effect suggested that it encodes a suppressor of posttranscriptional gene silencing (PTGS). By examining the ability of portions of RNA-2 to reverse PTGS in N. benthamiana, we have identified the small (S) coat protein as the CPMV RNA-2-encoded suppressor of PTGS.

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