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1.  The Stable Association of Virion with the Triple-gene-block Protein 3-based Complex of Bamboo mosaic virus 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(6):e1003405.
The triple-gene-block protein 3 (TGBp3) of Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV) is an integral endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane protein which is assumed to form a membrane complex to deliver the virus intracellularly. However, the virus entity that is delivered to plasmodesmata (PD) and its association with TGBp3-based complexes are not known. Results from chemical extraction and partial proteolysis of TGBp3 in membrane vesicles revealed that TGBp3 has a right-side-out membrane topology; i.e., TGBp3 has its C-terminal tail exposed to the outer surface of ER. Analyses of the TGBp3-specific immunoprecipitate of Sarkosyl-extracted TGBp3-based complex revealed that TGBp1, TGBp2, TGBp3, capsid protein (CP), replicase and viral RNA are potential constituents of virus movement complex. Substantial co-fractionation of TGBp2, TGBp3 and CP, but not TGBp1, in the early eluted gel filtration fractions in which virions were detected after TGBp3-specific immunoprecipitation suggested that the TGBp2- and TGBp3-based complex is able to stably associate with the virion. This notion was confirmed by immunogold-labeling transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of the purified virions. In addition, mutational and confocal microscopy analyses revealed that TGBp3 plays a key role in virus cell-to-cell movement by enhancing the TGBp2- and TGBp3-dependent PD localization of TGBp1. Taken together, our results suggested that the cell-to-cell movement of potexvirus requires stable association of the virion cargo with the TGBp2- and TGBp3-based membrane complex and recruitment of TGBp1 to the PD by this complex.
Author Summary
Plant viruses spread their infectious entities from cell to cell via plasmodesmata (PD) through the assistance of virus-encoded movement proteins and host factors. Some RNA viruses encode three functionally coordinated movement proteins organized into a triple gene block (TGB) to facilitate their cell-to-cell movement. TGBp2 and TGBp3 are known to associate with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane and ER-derived vesicles. The ER- or vesicle-associated TGBp2 and TGBp3 presumably form a membrane complex to deliver the viruses. However, the identity of the “viral RNA cargo” and whether the cargo is able to associate with the TGBp2- and TGBp3-containing membrane complex during intracellular transport remain unclear for potex-like viruses. Taking advantage of an HA-tagged and a His-tagged TGBp3 construct of Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV), we have been able to determine the membrane topology of TGBp3, isolate the TGBp3-based complex and detect the existence of a stable TGBp2-TGBp3-virion complex. Moreover, we have clarified that TGBp3 plays a key role in virus cell-to-cell movement by enhancing the TGBp2- and TGBp3-dependent PD localization of TGBp1. These results suggested that the cell-to-cell movement of potexvirus requires stable association of the virion cargo with the TGBp2- and TGBp3-containing membrane complex and recruitment of TGBp1 to the PD by this complex.
PMCID: PMC3675025  PMID: 23754943
2.  Microscopic Analysis of Severe Structural Rearrangements of the Plant Endoplasmic Reticulum and Golgi Caused by Overexpression of Poa semilatent virus Movement Protein 
The Scientific World Journal  2012;2012:416076.
Cell-to-cell transport of plant viruses is mediated by virus-encoded movement proteins and occurs through plasmodesmata interconnecting neighboring cells in plant tissues. Three movement proteins coded by the “triple gene block” (TGB) and named TGBp1, TGBp2 and TGBp3 have distinct functions in viral transport. TGBp1 binds viral genomic RNAs to form ribonucleoprotein complexes representing the transport form of viral genome, while TGBp2 and TGBp3 are necessary for intracellular delivery of such complexes to plasmodesmata. Recently, it was revealed that overexpression of Potato virus X TGBp3 triggers the unfolded protein response mitigating the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress leading to cell death if this protein reaches high levels in the ER. Here we report microscopic studies of the influence of the Poa semilatent hordeivirus TGBp3 overexpressed in Nicotiana benthamiana epidermal cells by particle bombardment on cell endomembranes and demonstrate that the protein C-terminal transmembrane segment contains a determinant responsible for vesiculation and coalescence of the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi presumably accompanying the ER stress that can be induced upon high-level TGBp3 expression.
PMCID: PMC3259505  PMID: 22272174
3.  The Role of Microtubule Association in Plasmodesmal Targeting of Potato mop-top virus Movement Protein TGBp1 
Cell-to-cell movement of Potato mop-top virus (PMTV) is mediated by three virus-encoded ‘triple gene block’ (TGB) proteins termed TGBp1, TGBp2 and TGBp3. TGBp1 binds virus RNAs to form viral ribonucleoprotein complexes (vRNPs), the transport form of viral genome. TGBp2 and TGBp3 are necessary for intracellular delivery of TGBp1-containing vRNPs to plasmodesmata. To analyze subcellular localization and transport of TGBp1 we used a single binary vector for agrobacterium-mediated co-expression of PMTV TGBp1 fused to green fluorescent protein and TGBp2/TGBp3. At two days post infiltration (dpi) TGBp1 was found in the nucleus and in association with microtubules (MTs). Similar localization pattern was revealed in cells expressing GFP-TGBp1 alone after particle bombardment. At 3 dpi, in addition to the nucleus and MTs, TGBp1 was detected in numerous granular bodies located both along the MTs and at the cell wall. The latter structures co-localized with plasmodesmata-associated callose depositions. At 4 dpi, GFP-TGBp1 was detected in cell wall-associated bodies and also in residual MTs, the nucleoplasm and large perinuclear inclusions resembling aggresomes. Therefore GFP-TGBp1 association with MTs preceded to its localization to plasmodesmata. Disassembly of cell MTs by colchicine prevented GFP-TGBp1 targeting to plasmodesmata and the MT-dependent aggresome formation. Deletion analysis also revealed a correlation between TGBp1 microtubule association and plasmodesmata targeting. We propose that TGBp1 interaction with MTs may be important for the formation of vRNP bodies destined for the transport to plasmodesmata as well as degradation of the excessive TGBp1.
PMCID: PMC3109696  PMID: 21660184
Movement protein; virus movement; plasmodesmata; microtubules; subcellular localization.
4.  Mutations in the Central Domain of Potato Virus X TGBp2 Eliminate Granular Vesicles and Virus Cell-to-Cell Trafficking▿  
Journal of Virology  2006;81(4):1899-1911.
Most RNA viruses remodel the endomembrane network to promote virus replication, maturation, or egress. Rearrangement of cellular membranes is a crucial component of viral pathogenesis. The PVX TGBp2 protein induces vesicles of the granular type to bud from the endoplasmic reticulum network. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) was fused to the PVX TGBp2 coding sequence and inserted into the viral genome and into pRTL2 plasmids to study protein subcellular targeting in the presence and absence of virus infection. Mutations were introduced into the central domain of TGBp2, which contains a stretch of conserved amino acids. Deletion of a 10-amino-acid segment (m2 mutation) overlapping the segment of conserved residues eliminated the granular vesicle and inhibited virus movement. GFP-TGBp2m2 proteins accumulated in enlarged vesicles. Substitution of individual conserved residues in the same region similarly inhibited virus movement and caused the mutant GFP-TGBp2 fusion proteins to accumulate in enlarged vesicles. These results identify a novel element in the PVX TGBp2 protein which determines vesicle morphology. In addition, the data indicate that vesicles of the granular type induced by TGBp2 are necessary for PVX plasmodesmata transport.
PMCID: PMC1797549  PMID: 17151124
5.  Viral protein targeting to the cortical endoplasmic reticulum is required for cell–cell spreading in plants 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2011;193(3):521-535.
Sorting signal-mediated oligomerization and localization of the viral protein TGBp3 to curved ER tubules is essential for viral movement between cells in plants.
Many plant RNA viruses use their nonstructural proteins to target and move through the cortical endoplasmic reticulum (ER) tubules within the plant intercellular junction for cell-to-cell spreading. Most of these proteins, including the triple-gene-block 3 protein (TGBp3) of Potexvirus, are ER membrane proteins. We previously showed that TGBp3 of the Bamboo mosaic potexvirus partitions into tubular subdomains of the ER in both yeast and plants, but the mechanism and physiological significance of this localization is unclear. Here, we demonstrate that a sorting signal present in TGBp3 is necessary and sufficient for its oligomerization and for targeting integral membrane proteins into puncta within curved ER tubules. Mutations in the TGBp3 sorting signal impair viral spread, and plants infected with viruses harboring these mutants were either asymptomatic or had reduced symptoms. Thus, we propose that Potexvirus use the sorting signal in TGBp3 to target infectious viral derivatives to cortical ER tubules for transmission through the intercellular junctions in plants.
PMCID: PMC3087015  PMID: 21518793
6.  Role of unfolded protein response in plant virus infection 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2011;6(8):1212-1215.
A new study of Potato virus X (PVX) revealed that a viral movement protein, named TGBp3, triggers the unfolded protein response (UPR) which monitors accumulation of aberrant proteins the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and targets them for degradation. The PVX TGBp3 resides in ER and activates bZIP60, a transcription factor involved in the UPR pathway. Knockdown of bZIP60 hampers virus infection in protoplasts and whole plants. Preliminary evidence indicates that UPR regulates cellular cytotoxicity that could otherwise lead to cell death if the PVX TGBp3 reaches high levels in the ER. SKP1 expression appears to be linked to bZIP60 and is a component of the SCF-complex mediating proteasomal degradation of cellular substrates. SKP1 expression is induced by PVX TGBp3 and plays a role in regulating PVX spread in whole plants. We propose that SKP1 might be linked to TGBp1-mediated degradation of AGO1.
PMCID: PMC3260726  PMID: 21758013
potato virus X; unfolded protein response; bZIP60; SKP1; viral movement protein; triple gene block proteins; TGB3
7.  Plant Translation Elongation Factor 1Bβ Facilitates Potato Virus X (PVX) Infection and Interacts with PVX Triple Gene Block Protein 1 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0128014.
The eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1 (eEF1) has two components: the G-protein eEF1A and the nucleotide exchange factor eEF1B. In plants, eEF1B is itself composed of a structural protein (eEF1Bγ) and two nucleotide exchange subunits (eEF1Bα and eEF1Bβ). To test the effects of elongation factors on virus infection, we isolated eEF1A and eEF1B genes from pepper (Capsicum annuum) and suppressed their homologs in Nicotiana benthamiana using virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS). The accumulation of a green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged Potato virus X (PVX) was significantly reduced in the eEF1Bβ- or eEF1Bɣ-silenced plants as well as in eEF1A-silenced plants. Yeast two-hybrid and co-immunoprecipitation analyses revealed that eEF1Bα and eEF1Bβ interacted with eEF1A and that eEF1A and eEF1Bβ interacted with triple gene block protein 1 (TGBp1) of PVX. These results suggest that both eEF1A and eEF1Bβ play essential roles in the multiplication of PVX by physically interacting with TGBp1. Furthermore, using eEF1Bβ deletion constructs, we found that both N- (1-64 amino acids) and C-terminal (150-195 amino acids) domains of eEF1Bβ are important for the interaction with PVX TGBp1 and that the C-terminal domain of eEF1Bβ is involved in the interaction with eEF1A. These results suggest that eEF1Bβ could be a potential target for engineering virus-resistant plants.
PMCID: PMC4447259  PMID: 26020533
8.  Disruption of LDL receptor gene in transgenic SREBP-1a mice unmasks hyperlipidemia resulting from production of lipid-rich VLDL 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1999;103(7):1067-1076.
Transgenic mice that overexpress the nuclear form of sterol regulatory element binding protein-1a (SREBP-1a) in liver (TgBP-1a mice) were shown previously to overproduce cholesterol and fatty acids and to accumulate massive amounts of cholesterol and triglycerides in hepatocytes. Despite the hepatic overproduction of lipids, the plasma levels of cholesterol (∼45 mg/dl) and triglycerides (∼55 mg/dl) were not elevated, perhaps owing to degradation of lipid-enriched particles by low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors. To test this hypothesis, in the current studies we bred TgBP-1a mice with LDL receptor knockout mice. As reported previously, LDLR–/– mice manifested a moderate elevation in plasma cholesterol (∼215 mg/dl) and triglycerides (∼155 mg/dl). In contrast, the doubly mutant TgBP-1a;LDLR–/– mice exhibited marked increases in plasma cholesterol (∼1,050 mg/dl) and triglycerides (∼900 mg/dl). These lipids were contained predominantly within large very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) particles that were relatively enriched in cholesterol and apolipoprotein E. Freshly isolated hepatocytes from TgBP-1a and TgBP-1a;LDLR–/– mice overproduced cholesterol and fatty acids and secreted increased amounts of these lipids into the medium. Electron micrographs of livers from TgBP-1a mice showed large amounts of enlarged lipoproteins within the secretory pathway. We conclude that the TgBP-1a mice produce large lipid-rich lipoproteins, but these particles do not accumulate in plasma because they are degraded through the action of LDL receptors.
J. Clin. Invest. 103:1067–1076 (1999).
PMCID: PMC408267  PMID: 10194480
9.  Specific Targeting of a Plasmodesmal Protein Affecting Cell-to-Cell Communication  
PLoS Biology  2008;6(1):e7.
Plasmodesmata provide the cytoplasmic conduits for cell-to-cell communication throughout plant tissues and participate in a diverse set of non–cell-autonomous functions. Despite their central role in growth and development and defence, resolving their modus operandi remains a major challenge in plant biology. Features of protein sequences and/or structure that determine protein targeting to plasmodesmata were previously unknown. We identify here a novel family of plasmodesmata-located proteins (called PDLP1) whose members have the features of type I membrane receptor-like proteins. We focus our studies on the first identified type member (namely At5g43980, or PDLP1a) and show that, following its altered expression, it is effective in modulating cell-to-cell trafficking. PDLP1a is targeted to plasmodesmata via the secretory pathway in a Brefeldin A–sensitive and COPII-dependent manner, and resides at plasmodesmata with its C-terminus in the cytoplasmic domain and its N-terminus in the apoplast. Using a deletion analysis, we show that the single transmembrane domain (TMD) of PDLP1a contains all the information necessary for intracellular targeting of this type I membrane protein to plasmodesmata, such that the TMD can be used to target heterologous proteins to this location. These studies identify a new family of plasmodesmal proteins that affect cell-to-cell communication. They exhibit a mode of intracellular trafficking and targeting novel for plant biology and provide technological opportunities for targeting different proteins to plasmodesmata to aid in plasmodesmal characterisation.
Author Summary
In plants, cylindrical, microscopic channels called plasmodesmata provide intracellular connections between cells for communication and material transport, and are important for many aspects of plant growth and defence. We identify a novel family of plasmodesmata-located proteins (called PDLP1) with features of type I membrane receptor-like proteins. In line with the potential for this protein to regulate molecular movement from cell to cell, we show that altered expression of the protein changes the efficiency of protein diffusion from plasmodesmata. We have also analysed the manner in which PDLP1 is transported to plasmodesmata. We show that the single transmembrane domain (TMD) of the protein contains all the information necessary for targeting to plasmodesmata and that proper targeting depends upon specific interactions with other factors within the membrane. Notably, a single amino acid close to the C-terminus of the TMD is critical for determining the intracellular destination. Further, by fusing the TMD to yellow fluorescent protein, we establish that the TMD can be used to target heterologous proteins to plasmodesmata.
Little is know about the structure and function of plant cell-to-cell connections, called plasmodesmata. This paper describes a new family of plasmodesmal proteins and the processes controlling their subcellular trafficking.
PMCID: PMC2211546  PMID: 18215111
10.  Tyrosine Phosphorylation of the Triple Gene Block Protein 3 Regulates Cell-to-Cell Movement and Protein Interactions of Potato Mop-Top Virus 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(8):4313-4321.
Functions of viral proteins can be regulated through phosphorylation by serine/threonine kinases in plants, but little is known about the involvement of tyrosine kinases in plant virus infection. In this study, TGBp3, one of the three movement proteins encoded by a triple gene block (TGB) of Potato mop-top virus (PMTV), was detected for the first time in PMTV-infected plants and found to be tyrosine phosphorylated. Phosphorylation sites (Tyr87–89 and Tyr120) were located in two amino acid motifs conserved in the TGB-containing, rod-shaped plant viruses. Substitution of these tyrosine residues in both motifs was needed to abolish tyrosine phosphorylation of TGBp3. Substitution of Tyr87–89 with alanine residues enhanced the interaction between TGBp3 and TGBp2 and inhibited cell-to-cell movement of PMTV. On the other hand, substitution of Tyr120 with alanine resulted in no alteration in the interaction of TGBp3 with TGBp2, but the mutant virus was not infectious. The results suggest that tyrosine phosphorylation is a mechanism regulating the functions of plant virus movement proteins.
PMCID: PMC3624400  PMID: 23365450
11.  The ER-Membrane Transport System Is Critical for Intercellular Trafficking of the NSm Movement Protein and Tomato Spotted Wilt Tospovirus 
PLoS Pathogens  2016;12(2):e1005443.
Plant viruses move through plasmodesmata to infect new cells. The plant endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is interconnected among cells via the ER desmotubule in the plasmodesma across the cell wall, forming a continuous ER network throughout the entire plant. This ER continuity is unique to plants and has been postulated to serve as a platform for the intercellular trafficking of macromolecules. In the present study, the contribution of the plant ER membrane transport system to the intercellular trafficking of the NSm movement protein and Tomato spotted wilt tospovirus (TSWV) is investigated. We showed that TSWV NSm is physically associated with the ER membrane in Nicotiana benthamiana plants. An NSm-GFP fusion protein transiently expressed in single leaf cells was trafficked into neighboring cells. Mutations in NSm that impaired its association with the ER or caused its mis-localization to other subcellular sites inhibited cell-to-cell trafficking. Pharmacological disruption of the ER network severely inhibited NSm-GFP trafficking but not GFP diffusion. In the Arabidopsis thaliana mutant rhd3 with an impaired ER network, NSm-GFP trafficking was significantly reduced, whereas GFP diffusion was not affected. We also showed that the ER-to-Golgi secretion pathway and the cytoskeleton transport systems were not involved in the intercellular trafficking of TSWV NSm. Importantly, TSWV cell-to-cell spread was delayed in the ER-defective rhd3 mutant, and this reduced viral infection was not due to reduced replication. On the basis of robust biochemical, cellular and genetic analysis, we established that the ER membrane transport system serves as an important direct route for intercellular trafficking of NSm and TSWV.
Author Summary
Plant viruses may use different host cell transport machineries to move from one cell to another through plasmodesmata. The contribution of host cell transport systems to the intercellular movement of multipartite negative-strand RNA plant viruses including tospoviruses is poorly understood. We used Tomato spotted wilt tospovirus (TSWV) as a model to understand the mechanism of intercellular movement of tospoviruses. In this study, using in vitro and in vivo systems for characterizing membrane proteins, we identified that the TSWV NSm movement protein was physically associated with the ER membrane. NSm expressed in a single leaf cell was able to move into neighboring cells along the ER membrane network. The ER membrane in plants is a unique structure that runs between neighboring cells via the ER desmotubule of the plasmodesmata and forms a continuous network throughout the plant. Taking advantage of TSWV NSm being tightly associated with ER membrane and trafficked between cells through plasmodesmata, we demonstrated here by robust biochemical, cellullar and genetic evidence that the ER membrane transport system of plants serves as an important route for intercellular trafficking of the NSm movement protein and TSWV. Our findings have important new implications for mechanistic studies on intercellular trafficking of tospoviruses and other multipartite negative-strand RNA plant viruses.
PMCID: PMC4749231  PMID: 26863622
12.  Characterization of the RNA-binding properties of the triple-gene-block protein 2 of Bamboo mosaic virus 
Virology Journal  2009;6:50.
The triple-gene-block protein 2 (TGBp2) of Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV) is a transmembrane protein which was proposed to be involved in viral RNA binding during virus transport. Here, we report on the RNA-binding properties of TGBp2. Using tyrosine fluorescence spectroscopy and UV-crosslinking assays, the TGBp2 solubilized with Triton X-100 was found to interact with viral RNA in a non-specific manner. These results raise the possibility that TGBp2 facilitates intracellular delivery of viral RNA through non-specific protein-RNA interaction.
PMCID: PMC2689192  PMID: 19422690
13.  The Ability of PVX p25 to Form RL Structures in Plant Cells Is Necessary for Its Function in Movement, but Not for Its Suppression of RNA Silencing 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43242.
The p25 triple gene block protein of Potato virus X (PVX) is multifunctional, participating in viral movement and acting as a suppressor of RNA silencing. The cell-to-cell movement of PVX is known to depend on the suppression function of p25. GFP-fused p25 accumulates in rod-like (RL) structures with intense fluorescence in cells. By monitoring the location of fluorescence at different times, we have now shown that the RL structure is composed of filaments. P25 mutants without the conditional ability to recover movement function could not form RL structures while the mutants that had the ability did form the structure, suggesting that the ability of p25 to form RL structures is necessary for its function in cell-to-cell movement, but not for its suppressor function. Moreover, chemical inhibition of microfilaments in cells destroyed the formation of the complete RL structure. Additionally, TGBp2 and TGBp3 were recruited into the RL structure, suggesting a relationship between the TGBps in virus movement.
PMCID: PMC3420909  PMID: 22916231
14.  A Dual Strategy for the Suppression of Host Antiviral Silencing: Two Distinct Suppressors for Viral Replication and Viral Movement Encoded by Potato Virus M▿  
Journal of Virology  2011;85(19):10269-10278.
Viruses encode RNA silencing suppressors to counteract host antiviral silencing. In this study, we analyzed the suppressors encoded by potato virus M (PVM), a member of the genus Carlavirus. In the conventional green fluorescent protein transient coexpression assay, the cysteine-rich protein (CRP) of PVM inhibited both local and systemic silencing, whereas the triple gene block protein 1 (TGBp1) showed suppressor activity only on systemic silencing. Furthermore, to elucidate the roles of these two suppressors during an active viral infection, we performed PVX vector-based assays and viral movement complementation assays. CRP increased the accumulation of viral RNA at the single-cell level and also enhanced viral cell-to-cell movement by inhibiting RNA silencing. However, TGBp1 facilitated viral movement but did not affect viral accumulation in protoplasts. These data suggest that CRP inhibits RNA silencing primarily at the viral replication step, whereas TGBp1 is a suppressor that acts at the viral movement step. Thus, our findings demonstrate a sophisticated viral infection strategy that suppresses host antiviral silencing at two different steps via two mechanistically distinct suppressors. This study is also the first report of the RNA silencing suppressor in the genus Carlavirus.
PMCID: PMC3196401  PMID: 21752911
15.  Tubule-Guided Cell-to-Cell Movement of a Plant Virus Requires Class XI Myosin Motors 
PLoS Pathogens  2011;7(10):e1002327.
Cell-to-cell movement of plant viruses occurs via plasmodesmata (PD), organelles that evolved to facilitate intercellular communications. Viral movement proteins (MP) modify PD to allow passage of the virus particles or nucleoproteins. This passage occurs via several distinct mechanisms one of which is MP-dependent formation of the tubules that traverse PD and provide a conduit for virion translocation. The MP of tubule-forming viruses including Grapevine fanleaf virus (GFLV) recruit the plant PD receptors called Plasmodesmata Located Proteins (PDLP) to mediate tubule assembly and virus movement. Here we show that PDLP1 is transported to PD through a specific route within the secretory pathway in a myosin-dependent manner. This transport relies primarily on the class XI myosins XI-K and XI-2. Inactivation of these myosins using dominant negative inhibition results in mislocalization of PDLP and MP and suppression of GFLV movement. We also found that the proper targeting of specific markers of the Golgi apparatus, the plasma membrane, PD, lipid raft subdomains within the plasma membrane, and the tonoplast was not affected by myosin XI-K inhibition. However, the normal tonoplast dynamics required myosin XI-K activity. These results reveal a new pathway of the myosin-dependent protein trafficking to PD that is hijacked by GFLV to promote tubule-guided transport of this virus between plant cells.
Author Summary
To establish infection, plant viruses spread cell-to-cell via narrow channels in the cell wall, the plasmodesmata (PD). Movement proteins (MP) are virus-encoded proteins essential for virus intercellular transport through PD. Plasmodesmata located plant proteins (PDLPs), are specifically recognised by the MPs of tubule-forming viruses. Here we show that PDLP targeting to PD depends on the molecular motors myosin XI-K and XI-2. Consistently, and in support of a function of PDLP as PD receptor for MP, overexpression of dominant negative myosin mutants inhibits tubule formation by Grapevine fanleaf virus (GFLV) MP and dramatically reduces virus movement.
PMCID: PMC3203191  PMID: 22046131
16.  Role of Rice Stripe Virus NSvc4 in Cell-to-Cell Movement and Symptom Development in Nicotiana benthamiana 
Our previous work has demonstrated that the NSvc4 protein of Rice stripe virus (RSV) functions as a cell-to-cell movement protein. However, the mechanisms whereby RSV traffics through plasmodesmata (PD) are unknown. Here we provide evidence that the NSvc4 moves on the actin filament and endoplasmic reticulum network, but not microtubules, to reach cell wall PD. Disruption of cytoskeleton using different inhibitors altered NSvc4 localization to PD, thus impeding RSV infection of Nicotiana benthamiana. Sequence analyses and deletion mutagenesis experiment revealed that the N-terminal 125 amino acids (AAs) of the NSvc4 determine PD targeting and that a transmembrane domain spanning AAs 106–125 is critical for PD localization. We also found that the NSvc4 protein can localize to chloroplasts in infected cells. Analyses using deletion mutants revealed that the N-terminal 73 AAs are essential for chloroplast localization. Furthermore, expression of NSvc4 from a Potato virus X (PVX) vector resulted in more severe disease symptoms than PVX alone in systemically infected N. benthamiana leaves. Expression of NSvc4 in Spodoptera frugiperda 9 cells did not elicit tubule formation, but instead resulted in punctate foci at the plasma membrane. These findings shed new light on our understanding of the movement mechanisms whereby RSV infects host plants.
PMCID: PMC3516811  PMID: 23233857
rice stripe virus; movement; chloroplast; tubules
17.  Tridimensional model structure and patterns of molecular evolution of Pepino mosaic virus TGBp3 protein 
Virology Journal  2011;8:318.
Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV) is considered one of the most dangerous pathogens infecting tomatoes worldwide. The virus is highly diverse and four distinct genotypes, as well as inter-strain recombinants, have already been described. The isolates display a wide range on symptoms on infected plant species, ranging from mild mosaic to severe necrosis. However, little is known about the mechanisms and pattern of PepMV molecular evolution and about the role of individual proteins in host-pathogen interactions.
The nucleotide sequences of the triple gene block 3 (TGB3) from PepMV isolates varying in symptomatology and geographic origin have been analyzed. The modes and patterns of molecular evolution of the TGBp3 protein were investigated by evaluating the selective constraints to which particular amino acid residues have been subjected during the course of diversification. The tridimensional structure of TGBp3 protein has been modeled de novo using the Rosetta algorithm. The correlation between symptoms development and location of specific amino acids residues was analyzed.
The results have shown that TGBp3 has been evolving mainly under the action of purifying selection operating on several amino acid sites, thus highlighting its functional role during PepMV infection. Interestingly, amino acid 67, which has been previously shown to be a necrosis determinant, was found to be under positive selection.
Identification of diverse selection events in TGB3p3 will help unraveling its biological functions and is essential to an understanding of the evolutionary constraints exerted on the Potexvirus genome. The estimated tridimensional structure of TGBp3 will serve as a platform for further sequence, structural and function analysis and will stimulate new experimental advances.
PMCID: PMC3132167  PMID: 21702943
molecular evolution; PepMV; protein modeling; selective constraints; TGBp3; virus evolution
18.  Myosins VIII and XI Play Distinct Roles in Reproduction and Transport of Tobacco Mosaic Virus 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(10):e1004448.
Viruses are obligatory parasites that depend on host cellular factors for their replication as well as for their local and systemic movement to establish infection. Although myosin motors are thought to contribute to plant virus infection, their exact roles in the specific infection steps have not been addressed. Here we investigated the replication, cell-to-cell and systemic spread of Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) using dominant negative inhibition of myosin activity. We found that interference with the functions of three class VIII myosins and two class XI myosins significantly reduced the local and long-distance transport of the virus. We further determined that the inactivation of myosins XI-2 and XI-K affected the structure and dynamic behavior of the ER leading to aggregation of the viral movement protein (MP) and to a delay in the MP accumulation in plasmodesmata (PD). The inactivation of myosin XI-2 but not of myosin XI-K affected the localization pattern of the 126k replicase subunit and the level of TMV accumulation. The inhibition of myosins VIII-1, VIII-2 and VIII-B abolished MP localization to PD and caused its retention at the plasma membrane. These results suggest that class XI myosins contribute to the viral propagation and intracellular trafficking, whereas myosins VIII are specifically required for the MP targeting to and virus movement through the PD. Thus, TMV appears to recruit distinct myosins for different steps in the cell-to-cell spread of the infection.
Author Summary
Viruses are parasites that require the host cell machinery for their propagation within and between cells. Myosins are molecular motors involved in the trafficking of cargos along actin filaments. Plant viruses have evolved to borrow this transport mechanism to aid their infection and spread within the plant. However, little is known about which of the many plant myosins are essential and at which specific steps they act to support virus infection. Here we investigated the role of different N. benthamiana myosins during the infection by Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). Our results show that class XI myosins play specific roles in the reproduction and intracellular movement of TMV in association with the dynamic endoplasmic reticulum network, whereas class VIII myosins support the specific targeting of the viral movement protein to plasmodesmata and thus the cell-to-cell movement of the virus. Together these results indicate that TMV interacts with distinct myosins during specific infection steps.
PMCID: PMC4199776  PMID: 25329993
19.  Identification of a Functional Plasmodesmal Localization Signal in a Plant Viral Cell-To-Cell-Movement Protein 
mBio  2016;7(1):e02052-15.
Our fundamental knowledge of the protein-sorting pathways required for plant cell-to-cell trafficking and communication via the intercellular connections termed plasmodesmata has been severely limited by the paucity of plasmodesmal targeting sequences that have been identified to date. To address this limitation, we have identified the plasmodesmal localization signal (PLS) in the Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) cell-to-cell-movement protein (MP), which has emerged as the paradigm for dissecting the molecular details of cell-to-cell transport through plasmodesmata. We report here the identification of a bona fide functional TMV MP PLS, which encompasses amino acid residues between positions 1 and 50, with residues Val-4 and Phe-14 potentially representing critical sites for PLS function that most likely affect protein conformation or protein interactions. We then demonstrated that this PLS is both necessary and sufficient for protein targeting to plasmodesmata. Importantly, as TMV MP traffics to plasmodesmata by a mechanism that is distinct from those of the three plant cell proteins in which PLSs have been reported, our findings provide important new insights to expand our understanding of protein-sorting pathways to plasmodesmata.
The science of virology began with the discovery of Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). Since then, TMV has served as an experimental and conceptual model for studies of viruses and dissection of virus-host interactions. Indeed, the TMV cell-to-cell-movement protein (MP) has emerged as the paradigm for dissecting the molecular details of cell-to-cell transport through the plant intercellular connections termed plasmodesmata. However, one of the most fundamental and key functional features of TMV MP, its putative plasmodesmal localization signal (PLS), has not been identified. Here, we fill this gap in our knowledge and identify the TMV MP PLS.
PMCID: PMC4725018  PMID: 26787834
20.  Class VIII Myosins Are Required for Plasmodesmatal Localization of a Closterovirus Hsp70 Homolog▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(6):2836-2843.
The Hsp70 homolog (Hsp70h) of Beet yellows virus (BYV) functions in virion assembly and cell-to-cell movement and is autonomously targeted to plasmodesmata in association with the actomyosin motility system (A. I. Prokhnevsky, V. V. Peremyslov, and V. V. Dolja, J. Virol. 79:14421-14428, 2005). Myosins are a diverse category of molecular motors that possess a motor domain and a tail domain involved in cargo binding. Plants have two classes of myosins, VIII and XI, whose specific functions are poorly understood. We used dominant negative inhibition to identify myosins required for Hsp70h localization to plasmodesmata. Six full-length myosin cDNAs from the BYV host plant Nicotiana benthamiana were sequenced and shown to encode apparent orthologs of the Arabidopsis thaliana myosins VIII-1, VIII-2, VIII-B, XI-2, XI-F, and XI-K. We found that the ectopic expression of the tail domains of each of the class VIII, but not the class XI, myosins inhibited the plasmodesmatal localization of Hsp70h. In contrast, the overexpression of the motor domains or the entire molecules of the class VIII myosins did not affect Hsp70h targeting. Further mapping revealed that the minimal cargo-binding part of the myosin VIII tails was both essential and sufficient for the inhibition of the proper Hsp70h localization. Interestingly, plasmodesmatal localization of the Tobacco mosaic virus movement protein and Arabidopsis protein RGP2 was not affected by myosin VIII tail overexpression. Collectively, our data implicate class VIII myosins in protein delivery to plasmodesmata and suggest that more than one mechanism of such delivery exist in plants.
PMCID: PMC2258991  PMID: 18199648
21.  Formation of Complexes at Plasmodesmata for Potyvirus Intercellular Movement Is Mediated by the Viral Protein P3N-PIPO 
PLoS Pathogens  2010;6(6):e1000962.
Intercellular transport of viruses through cytoplasmic connections, termed plasmodesmata (PD), is essential for systemic infection in plants by viruses. Previous genetic and ultrastructural data revealed that the potyvirus cyclindrical inclusion (CI) protein is directly involved in cell-to-cell movement, likely through the formation of conical structures anchored to and extended through PD. In this study, we demonstrate that plasmodesmatal localization of CI in N. benthamiana leaf cells is modulated by the recently discovered potyviral protein, P3N-PIPO, in a CI:P3N-PIPO ratio-dependent manner. We show that P3N-PIPO is a PD-located protein that physically interacts with CI in planta. The early secretory pathway, rather than the actomyosin motility system, is required for the delivery of P3N-PIPO and CI to PD. Moreover, CI mutations that disrupt virus cell-to-cell movement compromise PD-localization capacity. These data suggest that the CI and P3N-PIPO complex coordinates the formation of PD-associated structures that facilitate the intercellular movement of potyviruses in infected plants.
Author Summary
Plant viral pathogens cause an estimated US$60 billion loss in crop yields worldwide each year. Potyviruses, accounting for ∼30% of known plant viruses, include many agriculturally important viruses. Despite their importance, the cell-to-cell spread of potyviruses remains poorly understood. Previous studies have shown that at early time points of infection, the virus-encoded CI protein, one of 11 known potyviral proteins, is associated with cone-shaped structures at plasmodesmata (PD) and is involved in viral cell-to-cell movement. In this paper, we show that a newly identified potyviral protein, P3N-PIPO, is a PD-located protein and directs the CI protein to PD, facilitating the deposition of the cone-shaped structures of CI at PD by interacting with CI protein. We demonstrate that the mutant of CI, which impairs potyviral cell-to-cell movement, loses its ability to accumulate at PD. We further reveal that P3N-PIPO utilizes the secretory pathway rather than the actomyosin motility system for trafficking to PD. Taken together, the data presented in this study suggest that CI and P3N-PIPO coordinates the formation of conical structure at PD for potyviral cell-to-cell spread.
PMCID: PMC2891837  PMID: 20585568
22.  The Tobamovirus Turnip Vein Clearing Virus 30-Kilodalton Movement Protein Localizes to Novel Nuclear Filaments To Enhance Virus Infection 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(11):6428-6440.
Plant viruses overcome the barrier of the plant cell wall by encoding cell-to-cell movement proteins (MPs), which direct newly replicated viral genomes to, and across, the wall. The paradigm for how a single MP regulates and coordinates these activities is the Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) 30-kDa protein (MPTMV). Detailed studies demonstrate that TMV multiplies exclusively in the cytoplasm and have documented associations of MPTMV with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane, microtubules, and plasmodesmata throughout the course of infection. As TMV poorly infects Arabidopsis thaliana, Turnip vein clearing virus (TVCV) is the tobamovirus of choice for studies in this model plant. A key problem, which has contributed to confusion in the field, is the unproven assumption that the TVCV and TMV life cycles are identical. We engineered an infectious TVCV replicon that expressed a functional fluorescence-tagged MPTVCV and report here the unexpected discovery that MPTVCV, beyond localizing to ER membrane and plasmodesmata, targeted to the nucleus in a nuclear localization signal (NLS)-dependent manner, where it localized to novel F-actin-containing filaments that associated with chromatin. The MPTVCV NLS appeared to be conserved in the subgroup 3 tobamoviruses, and our mutational analyses showed that nuclear localization of MPTVCV was necessary for efficient TVCV cell-to-cell movement and systemic infection in Nicotiana benthamiana and Arabidopsis thaliana. Our studies identify a novel nuclear stage in TVCV infection and suggest that nuclear MP encoded by TVCV and other subgroup 3 tobamoviruses interacts with F-actin and chromatin to modulate host defenses or cellular physiology to favor virus movement and infection.
PMCID: PMC3648121  PMID: 23536678
23.  Interaction of the Trans-Frame Potyvirus Protein P3N-PIPO with Host Protein PCaP1 Facilitates Potyvirus Movement 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(4):e1002639.
A small open reading frame (ORF), pipo, overlaps with the P3 coding region of the potyviral polyprotein ORF. Previous evidence suggested a requirement for pipo for efficient viral cell-to-cell movement. Here, we provide immunoblotting evidence that the protein PIPO is expressed as a trans-frame protein consisting of the amino-terminal half of P3 fused to PIPO (P3N-PIPO). P3N-PIPO of Turnip mosaic virus (TuMV) fused to GFP facilitates its own cell-to-cell movement. Using a yeast two-hybrid screen, co-immunoprecipitation assays, and bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) assays, we found that P3N-PIPO interacts with host protein PCaP1, a cation-binding protein that attaches to the plasma membrane via myristoylation. BiFC revealed that it is the PIPO domain of P3N-PIPO that binds PCaP1 and that myristoylation of PCaP1 is unnecessary for interaction with P3N-PIPO. In PCaP1 knockout mutants (pcap1) of Arabidopsis, accumulation of TuMV harboring a GFP gene (TuMV-GFP) was drastically reduced relative to the virus level in wild-type plants, only small localized spots of GFP were visible, and the plants showed few symptoms. In contrast, TuMV-GFP infection in wild-type Arabidopsis yielded large green fluorescent patches, and caused severe stunting. However, viral RNA accumulated to high level in protoplasts from pcap1 plants indicating that PCaP1 is not required for TuMV RNA synthesis. In contrast to TuMV, the tobamovirus Oilseed rape mosaic virus did not require PCaP1 to infect Arabidopsis plants. We conclude that potyviral P3N-PIPO interacts specifically with the host plasma membrane protein PCaP1 to participate in cell-to-cell movement. We speculate that PCaP1 links a complex of viral proteins and genomic RNA to the plasma membrane by binding P3N-PIPO, enabling localization to the plasmodesmata and cell-to-cell movement. The PCaP1 knockout may contribute to a new strategy for recessive resistance to potyviruses.
Author Summary
The Potyviridae is the largest and most economically important family of plant viruses. A key step in the life cycle of all plant viruses is transport of the viral genome through the plasmodesmata, highly regulated channels that connect cells. While the mechanisms of cell-to-cell movement of many plant viruses have been characterized, our understanding of Potyviridae movement is lacking. The viral RNA genome is transported to the plasmodesmata by a complex of viral proteins including a recently discovered protein, P3N-PIPO which is encoded in two reading frames. The details of this localization process are unclear. Here, we identify a potential missing link that suggests how the potyviral movement complex may anchor to the plasma membrane including in the plasmodesmata. The host protein PCaP1, a divalent cation-binding plasma membrane protein, binds the P3N-PIPO protein of Turnip mosaic virus (TuMV). Both proteins were detected in the plasma membrane and plasmodesmata. Arabidopsis plants lacking PCaP1 allowed TuMV RNA replication but showed inefficient TuMV movement, reduced TuMV accumulation, and had greatly attenuated symptoms. However, these plants allowed normal infection by a tobamovirus. Thus, mutation of the PCaP1 gene may contribute to breeding potyvirus-resistant crops.
PMCID: PMC3325209  PMID: 22511869
24.  Different subcellular localizations and functions of Arabidopsis myosin VIII 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:3.
Myosins are actin-activated ATPases that use energy to generate force and move along actin filaments, dragging with their tails different cargos. Plant myosins belong to the group of unconventional myosins and Arabidopsis myosin VIII gene family contains four members: ATM1, ATM2, myosin VIIIA and myosin VIIIB.
In transgenic plants expressing GFP fusions with ATM1 (IQ-tail truncation, lacking the head domain), fluorescence was differentially distributed: while in epidermis cells at the root cap GFP-ATM1 equally distributed all over the cell, in epidermal cells right above this region it accumulated in dots. Further up, in cells of the elongation zone, GFP-ATM1 was preferentially positioned at the sides of transversal cell walls. Interestingly, the punctate pattern was insensitive to brefeldin A (BFA) while in some cells closer to the root cap, ATM1 was found in BFA bodies. With the use of different markers and transient expression in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves, it was found that myosin VIII co-localized to the plasmodesmata and ER, colocalized with internalized FM4-64, and partially overlapped with the endosomal markers ARA6, and rarely with ARA7 and FYVE. Motility of ARA6 labeled organelles was inhibited whenever associated with truncated ATM1 but motility of FYVE labeled organelles was inhibited only when associated with large excess of ATM1. Furthermore, GFP-ATM1 and RFP-ATM2 (IQ-tail domain) co-localized to the same spots on the plasma membrane, indicating a specific composition at these sites for myosin binding.
Taken together, our data suggest that myosin VIII functions differently in different root cells and can be involved in different steps of endocytosis, BFA-sensitive and insensitive pathways, ER tethering and plasmodesmatal activity.
PMCID: PMC2275265  PMID: 18179725
25.  Airborne Signals from a Wounded Leaf Facilitate Viral Spreading and Induce Antibacterial Resistance in Neighboring Plants 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(4):e1002640.
Many plants release airborne volatile compounds in response to wounding due to pathogenic assault. These compounds serve as plant defenses and are involved in plant signaling. Here, we study the effects of pectin methylesterase (PME)-generated methanol release from wounded plants (“emitters”) on the defensive reactions of neighboring “receiver” plants. Plant leaf wounding resulted in the synthesis of PME and a spike in methanol released into the air. Gaseous methanol or vapors from wounded PME-transgenic plants induced resistance to the bacterial pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum in the leaves of non-wounded neighboring “receiver” plants. In experiments with different volatile organic compounds, gaseous methanol was the only airborne factor that could induce antibacterial resistance in neighboring plants. In an effort to understand the mechanisms by which methanol stimulates the antibacterial resistance of “receiver” plants, we constructed forward and reverse suppression subtractive hybridization cDNA libraries from Nicotiana benthamiana plants exposed to methanol. We identified multiple methanol-inducible genes (MIGs), most of which are involved in defense or cell-to-cell trafficking. We then isolated the most affected genes for further analysis: β-1,3-glucanase (BG), a previously unidentified gene (MIG-21), and non-cell-autonomous pathway protein (NCAPP). Experiments with Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) and a vector encoding two tandem copies of green fluorescent protein as a tracer of cell-to-cell movement showed the increased gating capacity of plasmodesmata in the presence of BG, MIG-21, and NCAPP. The increased gating capacity is accompanied by enhanced TMV reproduction in the “receivers”. Overall, our data indicate that methanol emitted by a wounded plant acts as a signal that enhances antibacterial resistance and facilitates viral spread in neighboring plants.
Author Summary
The mechanical wounding of plant leaves, which is one of the first steps in pathogen infection and herbivore attack, activates signal transduction pathways and airborne signals to fend off harmful organisms. The mechanisms by which these signals promote plant immunity remain elusive. Here, we demonstrate that plant leaf wounding results in the synthesis of a cell wall enzyme, pectin methylesterase (PME), causing the plant to release methanol into the air. Gaseous methanol or vapors from wounded PME-transgenic plants induced resistance to the bacterial pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum in the leaves of non-wounded neighboring “receiver” plants. To investigate the mechanism underlying this phenomenon, we identified the methanol inducible genes (MIGs) in Nicotiana benthamiana, most of which fell into the category of defense genes. We selected and isolated the following genes: non-cell-autonomous pathway protein (NCAPP), β-1,3-glucanase (BG), and the previously unidentified MIG-21. We demonstrated that BG, MIG-21 and NCAPP could enhance cell-to-cell communication and Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) RNA accumulation. Moreover, gaseous methanol or vapors from wounded plants increased TMV reproduction in “receivers”. Thus, methanol emitted by a wounded plant enhances antibacterial resistance as well as cell-to-cell communication that facilitate virus spreading in neighboring plants.
PMCID: PMC3320592  PMID: 22496658

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