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Transgenic Arabidopsis Lines Expressing Gene VI from Cauliflower Mosaic Virus Variants Exhibit a Range of Symptom-Like Phenotypes and Accumulate Inclusion Bodies

December 1997 , Volume 10 , Number  9
Pages  1,094 - 1,101

Edi Cecchini , 1 Zhenhui Gong , 1 Chiara Geri , 1 Simon N. Covey , 2 Joel J. Milner 1

1Plant Molecular Science Group, Division of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Institute of Biomedical & Life Sciences, Glasgow University, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland, U.K.; 2John Innes Centre, Colney Lane, Norwich, NR1 4UH, England

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Accepted 21 August 1997.

Gene VI of cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) is an important determinant of symptom expression during infection. We have constructed a series of transgenic Arabidopsis lines that express gene VI protein (P6) from two CaMV isolates (Bari-1 and Cabb B-JI) that cause mild and severe symptoms, respectively, in Arabidopsis, and from a recombinant virus (Baji-31) with a hybrid gene VI that causes very severe symptoms. From 41 transgenic lines analyzed, 17 showed symptom-like phenotypes that ranged from mild vein chlorosis to severe chlorosis and stunting. P6 levels in trans-genic lines varied from undetectable in the lowest expressors to levels greater than those in CaMV-infected plants. There was a strong correlation between phenotype severity and the level of P6, and with the gene VI origin in the order, Baji-31 > B-JI > Bari-1. This was similar to symptom severity in Arabidopsis infected with the respective CaMV variant. We also found that transgenic P6 accumulated in inclusion bodies that were similar to those found in infected plants but lacking virions. We conclude that expression of P6, in the absence of virus replication, elicits a subset of the host symptom responses normally observed during infection and that the level, sequence, and possibly the form of P6 are important in potentiating the process.

Additional keyword: transactivator.

© 1997 The American Phytopathological Society