Department of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 27, FI-00014, University of Helsinki, Finland
Microtubules (MT) outline and maintain the overall shape of cells and can reorganize cellular membranes to serve as sites of RNA virus replication. Here, we provide data on involvement of an MT-associated protein in infection of plants with a potyvirus, Potato virus A (PVA), representing the largest family of plant-infecting RNA viruses. Our results showed that helper-component proteinase (HCpro)-interacting protein 2 (HIP2) of potato (Solanum tuberosum) is an MT-associated protein similar to Arabidopsis SPR2. Virus-induced silencing of HIP2 in Nicotiana benthamiana resulted in a spiral-like growth phenotype, similar to the Arabidopsis spr2 mutant, and the spr2 phenotype in Arabidopsis was complemented with potato HIP2. HCpro of PVA interacted with HIP2 of potato and tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). The interaction was detected by bimolecular fluorescence complementation in PVA-infected leaves on MT and MT intersections at the cell cortex. HIP2-HCpro interaction was determined by the C-proximal α-helix-rich domain of HIP2, whereas the N-proximal putative TOG domain and the central coiled-coil domain of HIP2 controlled HIP2 dimerization and binding to MT. Accumulation of PVA was significantly reduced in the HIP2-silenced leaves of N. benthamiana, which indicates that HIP2-HCpro interactions are important for virus infection.