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

Hypovirus papain-like protease p29 functions in trans to enhance viral double-stranded RNA accumulation and vertical transmission.

The prototypic hypovirus CHV1-EP713 attenuates virulence (hypovirulence) and alters several physiological processes of the chestnut blight fungus Cryphonectria parasitica. The papain-like protease, p29, and the highly basic protein, p40, derived, respectively, from the N-terminal and C-terminal portions of the CHV1-EP713-encoded open reading frame (ORF) A polyprotein, p69, both contribute to reduced pigmentation and sporulation. The p29 coding region was shown to suppress pigmentation and asexual sporulation in the absence of virus infection in transformed C. parasitica, whereas transformants containing the p40-coding domain exhibited a wild-type, untransformed phenotype. Deletion of either p29 or p40 from the viral genome also results in reduced accumulation of viral RNA. We now show that p29, but not p40, functions in trans to enhance genomic RNA accumulation and vertical transmission of p29 deletion mutant viruses. The frequency of virus transmission through conidia was found to decrease with reduced accumulation of viral genomic double-stranded RNA (dsRNA): from almost 100% for wild-type virus to approximately 50% for Deltap29, and 10 to 20% for Deltap69. When expressed from a chromosomally integrated cDNA copy, p29 elevated viral dsRNA accumulation and transmission for Deltap29 mutant virus to the level shown by wild-type virus. Increased viral RNA accumulation levels were also observed for a Deltap69 mutant lacking almost the entire ORF A sequence. Such enhancements were not detected in transgenic fungal colonies expressing p40. Mutation of p29 residues Cys(70) or Cys(72), strictly conserved in hypovirus p29 and potyvirus HC-Pro, resulted in the loss of both p29-mediated suppressive activity in virus-free transgenic C. parasitica and in trans enhancement of RNA accumulation and transmission, suggesting a linkage between these functional activities. These results suggest that p29 is an enhancer of viral dsRNA accumulation and vertical virus transmission through asexual spores.[1]


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