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Plant J. 2005 Nov;44(3):471-82.

Cell-to-cell movement of potato potexvirus X is dependent on suppression of RNA silencing.

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1
The Sainsbury Laboratory, John Innes Centre, Colney Lane, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK.

Abstract

RNA silencing in transgenic and virus-infected plants involves a mobile silencing signal that can move cell-to-cell and systemically through the plant. It is thought that this signal can influence long-distance movement of viruses because protein suppressors of silencing encoded in viral genomes are required for long-distance virus movement. However, until now, it was not known whether the mobile signal could also influence short-range virus movement between cells. Here, through random mutation analysis of the Potato Potexvirus X (PVX) silencing suppressor P25, we provide evidence that it does. All mutants that were defective for silencing suppression were also non-functional in viral cell-to-cell movement. However, we identified mutant P25 proteins that were functional as silencing suppressors but not as movement proteins and we conclude that suppression of silencing is not sufficient to allow virus movement between cells: there must be a second P25 function that is independent of silencing but also required for cell-to-cell movement. Consistent with this hypothesis, we identified two classes of suppressor-inactive P25 mutants. One class of these mutants is proposed to be functional for the accessory function because their failure to support PVX movement could be complemented by heterologous suppressors of silencing. The second class of P25 mutants is considered defective for both the suppressor and second functions because the heterologous silencing suppressors did not restore virus movement. It is possible, based on analyses of short interfering RNA accumulation, that P25 suppresses silencing by interfering with either assembly or function of the effector complexes of RNA silencing.

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