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New Phytol. 2013 Dec;200(4):1212-24. doi: 10.1111/nph.12447. Epub 2013 Aug 23.

Nucleocapsid of Tomato spotted wilt tospovirus forms mobile particles that traffic on an actin/endoplasmic reticulum network driven by myosin XI-K.

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Key Laboratory of Integrated Management of Crop Diseases and Pests, Ministry of Education, Department of Plant Pathology, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, 210095, China.


A number of viral proteins from plant viruses, other than movement proteins, have been shown to traffic intracellularly along actin filaments and to be involved in viral infection. However, there has been no report that a viral capsid protein may traffic within a cell by utilizing the actin/endoplasmic reticulum (ER) network. We used Tomato spotted wilt tospovirus (TSWV) as a model virus to study the cell biological properties of a nucleocapsid (N) protein. We found that TSWV N protein was capable of forming highly motile cytoplasmic inclusions that moved along the ER and actin network. The disruption of actin filaments by latrunculin B, an actin-depolymerizing agent, almost stopped the intracellular movement of N inclusions, whereas treatment with a microtubule-depolymerizing reagent, oryzalin, did not. The over-expression of a myosin XI-K tail, functioning in a dominant-negative manner, completely halted the movement of N inclusions. Latrunculin B treatment strongly inhibited the formation of TSWV local lesions in Nicotiana tabacum cv Samsun NN and delayed systemic infection in N. benthamiana. Collectively, our findings provide the first evidence that the capsid protein of a plant virus has the novel property of intracellular trafficking. The findings add capsid protein as a new class of viral protein that traffics on the actin/ER system.


Tomato spotted wilt tospovirus; actin filaments; endoplasmic reticulum; intracellular movement; myosin motor; nucleocapsid

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