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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Tomato mosaic virus replication protein suppresses virus-targeted posttranscriptional gene silencing.

Posttranscriptional gene silencing (PTGS), a homology-dependent RNA degradation system, has a role in defending against virus infection in plants, but plant viruses encode a suppressor to combat PTGS. Using transgenic tobacco in which the expression of green fluorescent protein (GFP) is posttranscriptionally silenced, we investigated a tomato mosaic virus (ToMV)-encoded PTGS suppressor. Infection with wild-type ToMV (L strain) interrupted GFP silencing in tobacco, coincident with visible symptoms, whereas some attenuated strains of ToMV (L(11) and L(11)A strains) failed to suppress GFP silencing. Analyses of recombinant viruses containing the L and L(11)A strains revealed that a single base change in the replicase gene, which causes an amino acid substitution, is responsible for the symptomless and suppressor-defective phenotypes of the attenuated strains. An agroinfiltration assay indicated that the 130K replication protein acts as a PTGS suppressor. Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) of 21 to 25 nucleotides accumulated during ToMV infection, suggesting that the major target of the ToMV-encoded suppressor is downstream from the production of siRNAs in the PTGS pathway. Analysis with GFP-tagged recombinant viruses revealed that the suppressor inhibits the establishment of the ToMV-targeted PTGS system in the inoculated leaves but does not detectably suppress the activity of the preexisting, sequence-specific PTGS machinery there. Taken together, these results indicate that it is likely that the ToMV-encoded suppressor, the 130K replication protein, blocks the utilization of silencing-associated small RNAs, so that a homology-dependent RNA degradation machinery is not newly formed.[1]


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