Tospoviruses cause serious economic losses to a wide range of field and horticultural crops on a global scale. The NSs gene encoded by tospoviruses acts as a suppressor of host plant defense. We identified amino acid motifs that are conserved in all of the NSs proteins of tospoviruses for which the sequence is known. Using tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) as a model, the role of these motifs in suppressor activity of NSs was investigated. Using site-directed point mutations in two conserved motifs, glycine, lysine and valine/threonine (GKV/T) at positions 181-183 and tyrosine and leucine (YL) at positions 412-413, and an assay to measure the reversal of gene silencing in Nicotiana benthamiana line 16c, we show that substitutions (K182 to A, and L413 to A) in these motifs abolished suppressor activity of the NSs protein, indicating that these two motifs are essential for the RNAi suppressor function of tospoviruses.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2014
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