Friedrich Miescher Institute, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland
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Accepted 16 December 2003.
Cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) transactivator/viroplasmin (Tav) is a multifunctional protein essential for basic replication of CaMV. It also plays a role in viral pathogenesis in crucifer and solanaceous host plants. Deletion mutagenesis revealed that N- and C-terminal parts of Tav are not essential for CaMV replication in transfected protoplasts. Two deletion mutants having only minimal defects in basic replication were infectious in turnips but only with highly attenuated virulence. This was shown to be due to delayed virus spread within the inoculated leaves and to the upper leaves. Unlike the wild-type virus, the mutant viruses successfully spread locally without inducing a host defense response in inoculated Datura stramonium leaves, but did not spread systemically. These results provide the first evidence that a Tav domain required for avirulence function in solanaceous plants is not essential for CaMV infectivity but has a role in viral virulence in susceptible hosts.
© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society