Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, State University of New York, Stony Brook 11794-5215, U.S.A.
Following inoculation, many plant viruses spread locally from cell to cell until they reach the vascular system, through which they then move to other parts of the plant, resulting in systemic infection. To isolate host genes involved in systemic transport of plant viruses, ethyl methanesulfonate-mutagenized Arabidopsis thaliana plants were screened for significant delays in the systemic movement of turnip vein clearing virus (TCVC). One such mutant, designated vsm1 (virus systemic movement), was identified. Unlike the wild-type plants, vsm1 did not develop viral disease and did not allow the systemic spread of the virus. The local viral movement within the inoculated vsm1 leaves, however, was not affected. TVCV systemic movement within the vsm1 plants was likely blocked at the step of viral entry into the host plant vasculature from the infected leaf tissue. vsm1 plants also restricted the systemic movement of another tobamovirus but not of an unrelated carmovirus.