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Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2004;42:13-34.

Tobacco mosaic virus: a model system for plant biology.

Author information

1
Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-2132, USA. kbgs@tamu.edu

Abstract

Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) has had an illustrious history for more than 100 years, dating to Beijerinck's description of the mosaic disease of tobacco as a contagium vivum fluidum and the modern usage of the word "virus." Since then, TMV has been acknowledged as a preferred didactic model and a symbolic model to illuminate the essential features that define a virus. TMV additionally emerged as a prototypic model to investigate the biology of host plants, namely tobacco. TMV also exemplifies how a model system furthers novel, and often unexpected, developments in biology and virology. Today, TMV is used as a tool to study host-pathogen interactions and cellular trafficking, and as a technology to express valuable pharmaceutical proteins in tobacco. The history of TMV illustrates how pragmatic strategies to control an economically important disease of tobacco have had unexpected and transforming effects across platforms that impinge on plant health and public health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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