Department of Plant Pathology, University of Missouri, Columbia 65211, U.S.A.
Cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) strains D4 and W260 can be distinguished by the type of symptoms they induce in Nicotiana clevelandii and N. edwardsonii. W260 induces systemic cell death in addition to a mosaic symptom in N. clevelandii and a hypersensitive response (HR) in N. edwardsonii, whereas D4 induces a systemic mosaic in both hosts. To determine which W260 genes are responsible for systemic cell death, chimeric viruses were constructed between the D4 and W260 strains. It was found that W260 gene VI was responsible for the elicitation of systemic cell death; previous studies had shown that this same gene elicited HR in N. edwardsonii. An immunological analysis of plants infected with W260 or D4 indicated that the systemic cell death symptom was not associated with enhanced levels of either W260 virions or the W260 gene VI product. To investigate the inheritance of systemic cell death, crosses were made between N. clevelandii and N. bigelovii, a host that reacts with a systemic mosaic symptom upon infection with W260. All F1 plants developed a systemic mosaic after inoculation with W260, whereas the F2 generation segregated 3:1 for systemic mosaic versus cell death. The plant gene responsible for cell death was designated ccd1, for CaMV cell death gene. These results demonstrate that the systemic cell death symptom in N. clevelandii is induced by the interaction between a single host gene and gene VI of CaMV.