Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) coat protein (CP) accumulated in tomato leaves during infection. The CP was immuno-detected in the phloem associated cells. At the early stages of infection, punctate signals were detected in the cytoplasm, while in the later stages aggregates of increasing size were localized in cytoplasm and nuclei. Sedimentation of protein extracts through sucrose gradients confirmed that progress of infection was accompanied by the formation of CP aggregates of increasing size. Genomic ssDNA was found in the cytoplasm and in the nucleus, while the dsDNA replicative form was exclusively associated with the nucleus. CP-DNA complexes were detected by immuno-capture PCR in nuclear and cytoplasmic large aggregates. Nuclear aggregates contained infectious particles transmissible to test plants by whiteflies. In contrast to susceptible tomatoes, the formation of large CP aggregates in resistant plants was delayed. By experimentally changing the level of resistance/susceptibility of plants, we showed that maintenance of midsized CP aggregates was associated with resistance, while large aggregates where characteristic of susceptibility. We propose that sequestering of virus CP into midsized aggregates and retarding the formation of large insoluble aggregates containing infectious particles is part of the response of resistant plants to TYLCV.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development, Middle East Research and Cooperation (MERC) program to H.C. ( GEG-G-00-02-00003-00 ), Project M21-037.