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Mol Plant. 2011 Sep;4(5):813-31. doi: 10.1093/mp/ssr070. Epub 2011 Sep 5.

Intracellular transport of plant viruses: finding the door out of the cell.

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Division of Plant Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.


Plant viruses are a class of plant pathogens that specialize in movement from cell to cell. As part of their arsenal for infection of plants, every virus encodes a movement protein (MP), a protein dedicated to enlarging the pore size of plasmodesmata (PD) and actively transporting the viral nucleic acid into the adjacent cell. As our knowledge of intercellular transport has increased, it has become apparent that viruses must also use an active mechanism to target the virus from their site of replication within the cell to the PD. Just as viruses are too large to fit through an unmodified plasmodesma, they are also too large to be freely diffused through the cytoplasm of the cell. Evidence has accumulated now for the involvement of other categories of viral proteins in intracellular movement in addition to the MP, including viral proteins originally associated with replication or gene expression. In this review, we will discuss the strategies that viruses use for intracellular movement from the replication site to the PD, in particular focusing on the role of host membranes for intracellular transport and the coordinated interactions between virus proteins within cells that are necessary for successful virus spread.

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