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Tomato ringspot virus Coat Protein Binds to ARGONAUTE 1 and Suppresses the Translation Repression of a Reporter Gene

September 2014 , Volume 27 , Number  9
Pages  933 - 943

Rajita A. Karran and Hélène Sanfaçon

Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 4200 Highway 97, Summerland, B.C., V0H 1Z0, Canada

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Accepted 30 April 2014.

RNA silencing regulates plant gene expression and antiviral defenses and functions by cleaving target RNAs or repressing translation. As a counter defense, many plant viruses encode suppressor proteins that sequester small RNAs or inactivate Argonaute (AGO) proteins. All known plant virus silencing suppressor activities eventually inhibit the degradation of target mRNAs. Using a transiently expressed green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter gene, we show that Tomato ringspot virus (ToRSV) coat protein (CP) is a suppressor of RNA silencing that enhances GFP expression but does not prevent the degradation of the GFP mRNA or the accumulation of GFP small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Coexpression of the CP with GFP resulted in increased association of residual GFP mRNAs with polysome fractions and reduced association of GFP siRNAs with monosome fractions. AGO1 was co-immunoprecipitated with the CP and CP expression destabilized AGO1. A WG motif within the CP was critical for the enhanced GFP expression, AGO1 interaction, and AGO1 destabilization, suggesting that the ToRSV CP acts as an AGO-hook protein and competes for AGO binding with a plant cellular GW/WG protein involved in translation repression.

© 2014 Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada