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Role of the Alfalfa mosaic virus Movement Protein and Coat Protein in Virus Transport

September 2001 , Volume 14 , Number  9
Pages  1,051 - 1,062

Jesús A. Sánchez-Navarro and John F. Bol

Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences, Gorlaeus Laboratories, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9502, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands

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Accepted 1 May 2001.

The movement protein (MP) and coat protein (CP) encoded by Alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV) RNA 3 are both required for virus transport. RNA 3 vectors that expressed nonfused green fluorescent protein (GFP), MP:GPF fusions, or GFP:CP fusions were used to study the functioning of mutant MP and CP in protoplasts and plants. C-terminal deletions of up to 21 amino acids did not interfere with the function of the CP in cell-to-cell movement, although some of these mutations interfered with virion assembly. Deletion of the N-terminal 11 or C-terminal 45 amino acids did not interfere with the ability of MP to assemble into tubular structures on the protoplast surface. Additionally, N- or C-terminal deletions disrupted tubule formation. A GFP:CP fusion was targeted specifically into tubules consisting of a wild-type MP. All MP deletion mutants that showed cell-to-cell and systemic movement in plants were able to form tubular structures on the surface of protoplasts. Brome mosaic virus (BMV) MP did not support AMV transport. When the C-terminal 48 amino acids were replaced by the C-terminal 44 amino acids of the AMV MP, however, the BMV/AMV chimeric protein permitted wild-type levels of AMV transport. Apparently, the C terminus of the AMV MP, although dispensable for cell-to-cell movement, confers specificity to the transport process.

© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society