Geminivirus replication enhancer (REn) proteins dramatically increase the accumulation of viral DNA species by an unknown mechanism. In this study, we present evidence implicating SlNAC1, a new member of the NAC domain protein family from tomato ( Solanum lycopersicum ), in Tomato leaf curl virus (TLCV) REn function. We isolated SlNAC1 using yeast ( Saccharomyces cerevisiae ) two-hybrid technology and TLCV REn as bait, and confirmed the interaction between these proteins in vitro. TLCV induces SlNAC1 expression specifically in infected cells, and this upregulation requires REn. In a transient TLCV replication system, overexpression of SlNAC1 resulted in a substantial increase in viral DNA accumulation. SlNAC1 colocalized with REn to the nucleus and activated transcription of a reporter gene in yeast, suggesting that in healthy cells it functions as a transcription factor. Together, these results imply that SlNAC1 plays an important role in the process by which REn enhances TLCV replication.
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