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Depletion of the Photosystem II Core Complex in Mature Tobacco Leaves Infected by the Flavum Strain of Tobacco mosaic virus

December 2003 , Volume 16 , Number  12
Pages  1,135 - 1,144

Kirsi Lehto , Mikko Tikkanen , Jean-Baptiste Hiriart , Virpi Paakkarinen , and Eva-Mari Aro

Department of Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology, University of Turku, FIN-20014 Turku, Finland


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Accepted 30 July 2003.

The flavum strain of Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) differs from the wild-type (wt) virus by causing strong yellow and green mosaic in the systemically infected developing leaves, yellowing in the fully expanded leaves, and distinct malformations of chloroplasts in both types of infected tissues. Analysis of the thylakoid proteins of flavum strain-infected tobacco leaves indicated that the chlorosis in mature leaves was accompanied by depletion of the entire photosystem II (PSII) core complexes and the 33-kDa protein of the oxygen evolving complex. The only change observed in the thyla-koid proteins of the corresponding wt TMV-infected leaves was a slight reduction of the α and β subunits of the ATP synthase complex. The coat proteins of different yellowing strains of TMV are known to effectively accumulate inside chloroplasts, but in this work, the viral movement protein also was detected in association with the thylakoid membranes of flavum strain-infected leaves. The mRNAs of different enzymes involved in the chlorophyll biosynthesis pathway were not reduced in the mature chlorotic leaves. These results suggest that the chlorosis was not caused by reduction of pigment biosynthesis, but rather, by reduction of specific proteins of the PSII core complexes and by consequent break-down of the pigments.


Additional keywords: D1 protein, photosynthetic electron transfer, tobamoviruses.

© 2003 The American Phytopathological Society