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J Virol. 2006 Sep;80(17):8459-68.

Membrane-bound tomato mosaic virus replication proteins participate in RNA synthesis and are associated with host proteins in a pattern distinct from those that are not membrane bound.

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Plant-Microbe Interactions Research Unit, Division of Plant Sciences, National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Tsukuba, Japan.


Extracts of vacuole-depleted, tomato mosaic virus (ToMV)-infected plant protoplasts contained an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) that utilized an endogenous template to synthesize ToMV-related positive-strand RNAs in a pattern similar to that observed in vivo. Despite the fact that only minor fractions of the ToMV 130- and 180-kDa replication proteins were associated with membranes, the RdRp activity was exclusively associated with membranes. A genome-sized, negative-strand RNA template was associated with membranes and was resistant to micrococcal nuclease unless treated with detergents. Non-membrane-bound replication proteins did not exhibit RdRp activity, even in the presence of ToMV RNA. While the non-membrane-bound replication proteins remained soluble after treatment with Triton X-100, the same treatment made the membrane-bound replication proteins in a form that precipitated upon low-speed centrifugation. On the other hand, the detergent lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) efficiently solubilized the membrane-bound replication proteins. Upon LPC treatment, the endogenous template-dependent RdRp activity was reduced and exogenous ToMV RNA template-dependent RdRp activity appeared instead. This activity, as well as the viral 130-kDa protein and the host proteins Hsp70, eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1A (eEF1A), TOM1, and TOM2A copurified with FLAG-tagged viral 180-kDa protein from LPC-solubilized membranes. In contrast, Hsp70 and only small amounts of the 130-kDa protein and eEF1A copurified with FLAG-tagged non-membrane-bound 180-kDa protein. These results suggest that the viral replication proteins are associated with the intracellular membranes harboring TOM1 and TOM2A and that this association is important for RdRp activity. Self-association of the viral replication proteins and their association with other host proteins may also be important for RdRp activity.

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