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Plant J. 1998 May;14(3):345-51.

Targeting and modification of prokaryotic cell-cell junctions by tobacco mosaic virus cell-to-cell movement protein.

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Scripps Research Institute, Department of Cell Biology, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


The movement protein (MP) of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) facilitates the cell-to-cell spread of infection by altering the structure and function of plasmodesmata, the intercellular communication channels in plants. Because the protein was shown to interfere with intercellular communication when expressed in the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120, whether the ability of the protein to target and to modify intercellular communication channels in plants is conserved in this prokaryote was investigated. It was found that the MP localizes to the cell junctions and induces the formation of filamentous structures that traverse the septa. It is proposed that the protein interacts with host components that are similar between plants and Anabaena and that may be evolutionarily related. The observations in Anabaena suggest that the MP modifies plasmodesmata by forming a filamentous aggregate within the pore.

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