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Virology. 1996 May 1;219(1):324-9.

The two nonstructural proteins from wheat dwarf virus involved in viral gene expression and replication are retinoblastoma-binding proteins.

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  • 1Departamento de Biología, Universidad Autónoma, Madrid, Spain.


Tumor-inducing viruses like simian virus 40 or the human adenovirus produce oncoproteins which interfere with the cellular retinoblastoma (Rb) tumor-suppressor protein to create an appropriate molecular environment in the nucleus for viral transcription and replication. Such a strategy has been considered to be restricted to animal viruses. Here we demonstrate that plant viruses may use similar mechanisms for recruiting host factors. Wheat dwarf virus (WDV) encodes two potential nonstructural proteins, C1 and C1:C2, both containing the consensus Rb-binding motif LeuXCysXGlu that allows the oncoproteins from animal viruses to inactivate Rb. C1:C2 is a key determinant of viral replication and V(virion)-sense expression. Using a yeast two-hybrid protein assay, we demonstrate for the first time that the C1:C2 protein from WDV interacts with a retinoblastoma protein, providing an explanation for the previously observed dependence of viral replication on an intact Rb-binding motif. We also show that C1, for which no function had been demonstrated, is required for V-sense gene expression. This suggests that V-sense expression might be dependent on the interaction of C1 with Rb. Our findings provide further evidence for the presence of transforming-like proteins in a plant virus and will help to explain the production of symptoms in a plant viral infection through a mechanism mediated by a key regulator of cell cycle and differentiation.

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