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Comparative Analysis of the Capacity of Tombusvirus P22 and P19 Proteins to Function as Avirulence Determinants in Nicotiana species

January 2011 , Volume 24 , Number  1
Pages  91 - 99

Carlos A. Angel,1 Yi-Cheng Hsieh,2 and James E. Schoelz1

1Division of Plant Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, U.S.A.; 2Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, U.S.A.

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Accepted 25 September 2010.

We have used an agroinfiltration assay for a comparative study of the roles of tombusvirus P22 and P19 proteins in elicitation of hypersensitive response (HR)-like necrosis and the role of P19 in silencing suppression in Nicotiana species. The advantage of agroinfiltration rather than expression in plant virus vectors is that putative viral avirulence proteins can be evaluated in isolation, eliminating the possibility of synergistic effects with other viral proteins. We found that tombusvirus P22 and P19 proteins elicited HR-like necrosis in certain Nicotiana species but, also, that Nicotiana species could recognize subtle differences in sequence between these proteins. Furthermore, Nicotiana species that responded with systemic necrosis to virion inoculations responded to agroinfiltration of tombusvirus P19 with a very weak and delayed necrosis, indicating that the rapid HR-like necrosis was associated with putative resistance genes and a plant defense response that limited the spread of the virus. Tombusvirus P19 proteins also appeared to differ in their effectiveness as silencing suppressors; in our assay, the P19 proteins of Cymbidium ringspot virus and Tomato bushy stunt virus were stronger silencing suppressors than Cucumber necrosis virus P20. Finally, we show that agroinfiltration can be used to track the presence of putative plant resistance genes in Nicotiana species that target either tombusvirus P19 or P22.

© 2011 The American Phytopathological Society