The 3a protein encoded by RNA 3 of cucumber mosaic virus has been identified as the viral cell-to-cell movement protein. The constitutive expression in transgenic tobacco plants of 3a protein from a subgroup I strain was able to complement in trans the short distance movement of a 3a defective CMV mutant belonging to a different taxonomic subgroup. This ability was dependent upon the accumulation levels of the 3a protein in transgenic tobacco plants. However, an initial delay in viral accumulation and spread of the defective virus as compared to the wild type virus was determined in complementation tests. Furthermore, a reduction in disease symptoms as well as a different pattern of systemic viral distribution from those of the wild type virus was detected. These results show that the early events in viral infection affect the long distance spread of the virus. Finally, the wild type virus moved faster in the 3a protein-expressing plants than in control plants, thus indicating that the constitutive expression of the 3a protein favours long-distance viral spread.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2000
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