1Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (C.S.I.C.), Campus de la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain; 2Ecole Nationale Superieure Agronomique de Montpellier (ENSAM-INRA), 2 Place Viala, 34060 Montpellier Cedex 1, France; 3UMR GD2P, IBVM, INRA, BP81, 33883 Villenave d'Ornon Cedex, France
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Accepted 22 November 2000.
Several subisolates were separated from a single Plum pox virus (PPV) isolate, PPV-PS. In spite of an extremely high sequence conservation (more than 99.9% similarity), different subisolates differed largely in pathogenicity in herbaceous hosts and infectivity in woody plants. The severity of symptomatology did not seem to correlate with virus accumulation. Sequence analysis and site-directed mutagenesis demonstrated that single amino acid changes in the helper component (HC) protein caused a drastic effect on virus symptoms in herbaceous hosts and notably modified virus infectivity in peach seedlings. These results indicate that HC variation might play an important role in virulence evolution of natural plant virus infections. Moreover, the analysis of Potato virus X (PVX)-HC chimeras showed that the identified HC amino acid changes had parallel effects on the severity of symptoms caused by PPV and on HC-induced enhancement of PVX pathogenicity, indicating that HC functions in potyvirus symptomatology and in synergism with other viruses have overlapping determinants.
© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society