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Plastocyanin Transit Peptide Interacts with Potato virus X Coat Protein, While Silencing of Plastocyanin Reduces Coat Protein Accumulation in Chloroplasts and Symptom Severity in Host Plants

December 2009 , Volume 22 , Number  12
Pages  1,523 - 1,534

Y. Qiao,1,2 H. F. Li,1,2 S. M. Wong,2,3,4 and Z. F. Fan1,2

1State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology and 2Department of Plant Pathology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100094, China; 3Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, 1 Research Link, 117604, Singapore; 4Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4, Kent Ridge, 117543, Singapore

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Accepted 5 August 2009.

Potato virus X coat protein (PVXCP) is, through communication with host proteins, involved in processes such as virus movement and symptom development. Here, we report that PVXCP also interacts with the precursor of plastocyanin, a protein involved in photosynthesis, both in vitro and in vivo. Yeast two-hybrid analysis indicated that PVXCP interacted with only the plastocyanin transit peptide. In subsequent bimolecular fluorescence complementation assays, both proteins were collocated within chloroplasts. Western blot analyses of chloroplast fractions showed that PVXCP could be detected in the envelope, stroma, and lumen fractions. Transmission electron microscopy demonstrated that grana were dilated in PVX-infected Nicotiana benthamiana. Furthermore, virus-induced gene silencing of plastocyanin by prior infection of N. benthamiana using a Tobacco rattle virus vector reduced the severity of symptoms that developed following subsequent PVX infection as well as the accumulation of PVXCP in isolated chloroplasts. However, PVXCP could not be detected in pea chloroplasts in an in vitro re-uptake assay using the plastocyanin precursor protein. Taken together, these data suggest that PVXCP interacts with the plastocyanin precursor protein and that silencing the expression of this protein leads to reduced PVXCP accumulation in chloroplasts and ameliorates symptom severity in host plants.

© 2009 The American Phytopathological Society