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The 2b Silencing Suppressor of a Mild Strain of Cucumber mosaic virus Alone Is Sufficient for Synergistic Interaction with Tobacco mosaic virus and Induction of Severe Leaf Malformation in 2b-Transgenic Tobacco Plants

June 2011 , Volume 24 , Number  6
Pages  685 - 693

Shahid A. Siddiqui,1,2 Jari P. T. Valkonen,1 Minna-Liisa Rajamäki,1 and Kirsi Lehto2

1Department of Agricultural Sciences, PO Box 27, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland; 2Laboratory of Molecular Plant Biology, Department of Biochemistry and Food Chemistry, FI-20014 University of Turku, Finland

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Accepted 16 February 2011.

Tobacco plants infected simultaneously by Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) and Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) are known to produce a specific synergistic disease in which the emerging leaves are filiformic. Similar developmental malformations are also caused to a lesser extent by the severe strains (e.g., Fny) of CMV alone, but mild strains (e.g., Kin) cause them only in mixed infection with TMV. We show here that transgenic tobacco plants expressing 2b protein of CMV-Kin produce filiformic symptoms when infected with TMV, indicating that only 2b protein is needed from CMV-Kin for this synergistic relationship. On the other hand, transgenic plants that express either the wild-type TMV genome or a modified TMV genome with its coat protein deleted or movement protein (MP) inactivated also develop filiformic or at least distinctly narrow leaves, while plants expressing the MP alone do not develop any malformations when infected with CMV-Kin. These results show that either TMV helicase/replicase protein or active TMV replication are required for this synergistic effect. The effect appears to be related to an efficient depletion of silencing machinery, caused jointly by both viral silencing suppressors, i.e., CMV 2b protein and the TMV 126-kDa replicase subunit.

© 2011 The American Phytopathological Society