Molecular characterization and biological function of the movement protein of tobacco mosaic virus in transgenic plants

Carl M. Deom*, Karel R. Schubert, Shmuel Wolf, Curtis A. Holt, William J. Lucas, Roger N. Beachy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations

Abstract

We previously demonstrated, in transgenic tobacco plants, that the role of the movement protein (MP) of tobacco mosaic virus is to facilitate the cell-to-cell spread of viral progeny during infection. An analysis of different tissues of these transgenic plants indicated that the MP accumulated in leaf, stem, and root tissue. The highest levels were detected in older leaves. The relative levels of MP in leaf tissue from transgenic plants were equivalent to, or higher than, the levels of MP in tobacco mosaic virus-infected leaf tissue. Results of subcellular fractionation of homogenates of transgenic leaf tissue showed that the MP was most abundant in the cell wall fraction of older leaves and that the protein remained at high levels in the cell wall fraction as the leaves continued to age. Significant levels of the MP were detected in a crude membrane/organelle fraction and a soluble fraction in younger leaves but decreased to low levels in older leaves. These results suggest that the MP accumulates and is stable in cell walls. We have previously shown that the MP modifies the molecular exclusion limit of plasmodesmata, which is consistent with the hypothesis that plant viruses move from cell to cell through altered plasmodesmata. We show here that the ability of the tobacco mosaic virus MP to modify the molecular exclusion limit of plasmodesmata in tobacco depends on the developmental stage of the leaf. The implications of these findings on understanding virus movement and how plasmodesmata function are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3284-3288
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume87
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1990
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Plant cell wall
  • Plasmodesmata function
  • Virus movement

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