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1.  Hsp90 Interacts Specifically with Viral RNA and Differentially Regulates Replication Initiation of Bamboo mosaic virus and Associated Satellite RNA 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(5):e1002726.
Host factors play crucial roles in the replication of plus-strand RNA viruses. In this report, a heat shock protein 90 homologue of Nicotiana benthamiana, NbHsp90, was identified in association with partially purified replicase complexes from BaMV-infected tissue, and shown to specifically interact with the 3′ untranslated region (3′ UTR) of BaMV genomic RNA, but not with the 3′ UTR of BaMV-associated satellite RNA (satBaMV RNA) or that of genomic RNA of other viruses, such as Potato virus X (PVX) or Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). Mutational analyses revealed that the interaction occurs between the middle domain of NbHsp90 and domain E of the BaMV 3′ UTR. The knockdown or inhibition of NbHsp90 suppressed BaMV infectivity, but not that of satBaMV RNA, PVX, or CMV in N. benthamiana. Time-course analysis further revealed that the inhibitory effect of 17-AAG is significant only during the immediate early stages of BaMV replication. Moreover, yeast two-hybrid and GST pull-down assays demonstrated the existence of an interaction between NbHsp90 and the BaMV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. These results reveal a novel role for NbHsp90 in the selective enhancement of BaMV replication, most likely through direct interaction with the 3′ UTR of BaMV RNA during the initiation of BaMV RNA replication.
Author Summary
Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) is a highly conserved molecular chaperone in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, and regulates diverse cellular processes through ensuring the correct folding of numerous client proteins. However, there are no reports of direct interactions between Hsp90 with viral RNA. Here, we report that a new member of the Hsp90 proteins of Nicotiana benthamiana, NbHsp90, specifically interacts with the 3′ UTR of Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV) genomic RNA, but not with the 3′ UTR of BaMV-associated satellite RNA or that of other viruses. We further demonstrate that NbHsp90 specifically involves in the immediately early stage of BaMV RNA replication. NbHsp90 directly interacts with the BaMV 3′ UTR through the domain E, the key structural differences that distinguishes the BaMV 3′ UTR from the satBaMV 3′ UTR, which might contribute to NbHsp90's differential requirement for BaMV and satBaMV replication. Our work revealed a new role of Hsp90 in the interaction with RNA molecules, and demonstrated the differential requirement of Hsp90 in the replication of BaMV and satBaMV RNAs, which provide additional leverage for understanding the complex interactions between host, virus and its associated satellite RNA.
PMCID: PMC3359997  PMID: 22654666
2.  Global Analyses of Small Interfering RNAs Derived from Bamboo mosaic virus and Its Associated Satellite RNAs in Different Plants 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e11928.
Satellite RNAs (satRNAs), virus parasites, are exclusively associated with plant virus infection and have attracted much interest over the last 3 decades. Upon virus infection, virus-specific small interfering RNAs (vsiRNAs) are produced by dicer-like (DCL) endoribonucleases for anti-viral defense. The composition of vsiRNAs has been studied extensively; however, studies of satRNA-derived siRNAs (satsiRNAs) or siRNA profiles after satRNA co-infection are limited. Here, we report on the small RNA profiles associated with infection with Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV) and its two satellite RNAs (satBaMVs) in Nicotiana benthamiana and Arabidopsis thaliana.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Leaves of N. benthamiana or A. thaliana inoculated with water, BaMV alone or co-inoculated with interfering or noninterfering satBaMV were collected for RNA extraction, then large-scale Solexa sequencing. Up to about 20% of total siRNAs as BaMV-specific siRNAs were accumulated in highly susceptible N. benthamiana leaves inoculated with BaMV alone or co-inoculated with noninterfering satBaMV; however, only about 0.1% of vsiRNAs were produced in plants co-infected with interfering satBaMV. The abundant region of siRNA distribution along BaMV and satBaMV genomes differed by host but not by co-infection with satBaMV. Most of the BaMV and satBaMV siRNAs were 21 or 22 nt, of both (+) and (−) polarities; however, a higher proportion of 22-nt BaMV and satBaMV siRNAs were generated in N. benthamiana than in A. thaliana. Furthermore, the proportion of non-viral 24-nt siRNAs was greatly increased in N. benthamiana after virus infection.
The overall composition of vsiRNAs and satsiRNAs in the infected plants reflect the combined action of virus, satRNA and different DCLs in host plants. Our findings suggest that the structure and/or sequence demands of various DCLs in different hosts may result in differential susceptibility to the same virus. DCL2 producing 24-nt siRNAs under biotic stresses may play a vital role in the antiviral mechanism in N. benthamiana.
PMCID: PMC2914070  PMID: 20689857
3.  Suppression of Bamboo Mosaic Virus Accumulation by a Putative Methyltransferase in Nicotiana benthamiana▿  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(11):5796-5805.
Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV) is a 6.4-kb positive-sense RNA virus belonging to the genus Potexvirus of the family Flexiviridae. The 155-kDa viral replicase, the product of ORF1, comprises an N-terminal S-adenosyl-l-methionine (AdoMet)-dependent guanylyltransferase, a nucleoside triphosphatase/RNA 5′-triphosphatase, and a C-terminal RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). To search for cellular factors potentially involved in the regulation of replication and/or transcription of BaMV, the viral RdRp domain was targeted as bait to screen against a leaf cDNA library of Nicotiana benthamiana using a yeast two-hybrid system. A putative methyltransferase (PNbMTS1) of 617 amino acid residues without an established physiological function was identified. Cotransfection of N. benthamiana protoplasts with a BaMV infectious clone and the PNbMTS1-expressing plasmid showed a PNbMTS1 dosage-dependent inhibitory effect on the accumulation of BaMV coat protein. Deletion of the N-terminal 36 amino acids, deletion of a predicted signal peptide or transmembrane segment, or mutations in the putative AdoMet-binding motifs of PNbMTS1 abolished the inhibitory effect. In contrast, suppression of PNbMTS1 by virus-induced gene silencing in N. benthamiana increased accumulation of the viral coat protein as well as the viral genomic RNA. Collectively, PNbMTS1 may function as an innate defense protein against the accumulation of BaMV through an uncharacterized mechanism.
PMCID: PMC2681968  PMID: 19297487
4.  Maintaining the structural integrity of the bamboo mosaic virus 3′ untranslated region is necessary for retaining the catalytic constant for minus-strand RNA synthesis 
Virology Journal  2013;10:208.
Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV) and the Potato virus X (PVX) are members of the genus Potexvirus and have a single-stranded positive-sense RNA genome. The 3′-untranslated region (UTR) of the BaMV RNA genome was mapped structurally into ABC (a cloverleaf-like), D (a stem-loop), and E (pseudoknot) domains. The BaMV replicase complex that was isolated from the infected plants was able to recognize the 3′ UTR of PVX RNA to initiate minus-strand RNA synthesis in vitro.
To investigate whether the 3′ UTR of PVX RNA is also compatible with BaMV replicase in vivo, we constructed chimera mutants using a BaMV backbone containing the PVX 3′ UTR, which was inserted in or used to replace the various domains in the 3′ UTR of BaMV. None of the mutants, except for the mutant with the PVX 3′ UTR inserted upstream of the BaMV 3′ UTR, exhibited a detectable accumulation of viral RNA in Nicotiana benthamiana plants. The in vitro BaMV RdRp replication assay demonstrated that the RNA products were generated by the short RNA transcripts, which were derived from the chimera mutants to various extents. Furthermore, the Vmax/KM of the BaMV 3′ UTR (rABCDE) was approximately three fold higher than rABCP, rP, and rDE in minus-strand RNA synthesis. These mutants failed to accumulate viral products in protoplasts and plants, but were adequately replicated in vitro.
Among the various studied BaMV/PVX chimera mutants, the BaMV-S/PABCDE that contained non-interrupted BaMV 3′ UTR was the only mutant that exhibited a wild-type level of viral product accumulation in protoplasts and plants. These results indicate that the continuity of the domains in the 3′ UTR of BaMV RNA was not interrupted and the domains were not replaced with the 3′ UTR of PVX RNA in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3720222  PMID: 23800142
5.  The glutathione transferase of Nicotiana benthamiana NbGSTU4 plays a role in regulating the early replication of Bamboo mosaic virus 
The New Phytologist  2013;199(3):749-757.
Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV) is a single-stranded positive-sense RNA virus. One of the plant glutathione S-transferase (GST) genes, NbGSTU4, responds as an upregulated gene in Nicotiana benthamiana post BaMV infection.In order to identify the role of NbGSTU4 in BaMV infection, the expression of NbGSTU4 was knocked down using a virus-induced gene silencing technique or was transiently expressed in N. benthamiana in BaMV inoculation.The results show a significant decrease in BaMV RNA accumulation when the expression level of NbGSTU4 is reduced; whereas the viral RNA accumulation increases when NbGSTU4 is transiently expressed. Furthermore, this study identified that the involvement of NbGSTU4 in viral RNA accumulation occurs by its participation in the viral early replication step. The findings show that the NbGSTU4 protein expressed from Escherichia coli can interact with the 3′ untranslated region (UTR) of the BaMV RNA in vitro in the presence of glutathione (GSH). The addition of GSH in the in vitro replication assay shows an enhancement of minus-strand but not plus-strand RNA synthesis.The results suggest that the plant GST protein plays a role in binding viral RNA and delivering GSH to the replication complex to create a reduced condition for BaMV minus-strand RNA synthesis.
PMCID: PMC3744755  PMID: 23701112
Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV); glutathione (GSH); glutathione S-transferase (GST); in vitro RNA replication; redox; viral RNA replication; virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS)
6.  The AAUAAA Motif of Bamboo Mosaic Virus RNA Is Involved in Minus-Strand RNA Synthesis and Plus-Strand RNA Polyadenylation 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(23):14555-14561.
Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV) has a single-stranded positive-sense RNA genome with a 5′-cap structure and a 3′ poly(A) tail. Deleting the internal loop that contains the putative polyadenylation signal (AAUAAA) in the 3′ untranslated region (UTR) of BaMV genomic RNA appeared to diminish coat protein accumulation to 2% (C. P. Cheng and C. H. Tsai, J. Mol. Biol. 288:555-565, 1999). To investigate the function of the AAUAAA motif, mutations were introduced into an infectious BaMV cDNA at each residue except the first nucleotide. After transfection of Nicotiana benthamiana protoplasts with RNA transcript, the accumulations of viral coat protein and RNAs were determined. Based on the results, three different categories could be deduced for the mutants. Category 1 includes two mutants expressing levels of the viral products similar to those of the wild-type virus. Six mutations in category 2 led to decreased to similar levels of both minus-strand and genomic RNAs. Category 3 includes the remaining seven mutations that also bring about decreases in both minus- and plus-strand RNA levels, with more significant effects on genomic RNA accumulation. Mutant transcripts from each category were used to infect N. benthamiana plants, from which viral particles were isolated. The genomic RNAs of mutants in category 3 were found to have shorter poly(A) tails. Taken together, the results suggest that the AAUAAA motif in the 3′ UTR of BaMV genomic RNA is involved not only in the formation of the poly(A) tail of the plus-strand RNA, but also in minus-strand RNA synthesis.
PMCID: PMC1287560  PMID: 16282455
7.  Glyceraldehyde 3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Negatively Regulates the Replication of Bamboo Mosaic Virus and Its Associated Satellite RNA▿† 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(17):8829-8840.
The identification of cellular proteins associated with virus replicase complexes is crucial to our understanding of virus-host interactions, influencing the host range, replication, and virulence of viruses. A previous in vitro study has demonstrated that partially purified Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV) replicase complexes can be employed for the replication of both BaMV genomic and satellite BaMV (satBaMV) RNAs. In this study, we investigated the BaMV and satBaMV 3′ untranslated region (UTR) binding proteins associated with these replicase complexes. Two cellular proteins with molecular masses of ∼35 and ∼55 kDa were specifically cross-linked with RNA elements, whereupon the ∼35-kDa protein was identified as the glycolytic enzyme glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH). Gel mobility shift assays confirmed the direct interaction of GAPDH with the 3′ UTR sequences, and competition gel shift analysis revealed that GAPDH binds preferentially to the positive-strand BaMV and satBaMV RNAs over the negative-strand RNAs. It was observed that the GAPDH protein binds to the pseudoknot poly(A) tail of BaMV and stem-loop-C poly(A) tail of satBaMV 3′ UTR RNAs. It is important to note that knockdown of GAPDH in Nicotiana benthamiana enhances the accumulation of BaMV and satBaMV RNA; conversely, transient overexpression of GAPDH reduces the accumulation of BaMV and satBaMV RNA. The recombinant GAPDH principally inhibits the synthesis of negative-strand RNA in exogenous RdRp assays. These observations support the contention that cytosolic GAPDH participates in the negative regulation of BaMV and satBaMV RNA replication.
PMCID: PMC3165797  PMID: 21715476
8.  Induction of protective immunity in swine by recombinant bamboo mosaic virus expressing foot-and-mouth disease virus epitopes 
BMC Biotechnology  2007;7:62.
Plant viruses can be employed as versatile vectors for the production of vaccines by expressing immunogenic epitopes on the surface of chimeric viral particles. Although several viruses, including tobacco mosaic virus, potato virus X and cowpea mosaic virus, have been developed as vectors, we aimed to develop a new viral vaccine delivery system, a bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV), that would carry larger transgene loads, and generate better immunity in the target animals with fewer adverse environmental effects.
We engineered the BaMV as a vaccine vector expressing the antigenic epitope(s) of the capsid protein VP1 of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV). The recombinant BaMV plasmid (pBVP1) was constructed by replacing DNA encoding the 35 N-terminal amino acid residues of the BaMV coat protein with that encoding 37 amino acid residues (T128-N164) of FMDV VP1.
The pBVP1 was able to infect host plants and to generate a chimeric virion BVP1 expressing VP1 epitopes in its coat protein. Inoculation of swine with BVP1 virions resulted in the production of anti-FMDV neutralizing antibodies. Real-time PCR analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from the BVP1-immunized swine revealed that they produced VP1-specific IFN-γ. Furthermore, all BVP1-immunized swine were protected against FMDV challenge.
Chimeric BaMV virions that express partial sequence of FMDV VP1 can effectively induce not only humoral and cell-mediated immune responses but also full protection against FMDV in target animals. This BaMV-based vector technology may be applied to other vaccines that require correct expression of antigens on chimeric viral particles.
PMCID: PMC2117009  PMID: 17900346
9.  Crucial Role of the 5′ Conserved Structure of Bamboo Mosaic Virus Satellite RNA in Downregulation of Helper Viral RNA Replication 
Journal of Virology  2006;80(5):2566-2574.
Satellite RNA of Bamboo mosaic virus (satBaMV), a single-stranded mRNA type satellite encoding a protein of 20 kDa (P20), depends on the helper BaMV for replication and encapsidation. Two satBaMV isolates, BSF4 and BSL6, exhibit distinctly differential phenotypes in Nicotiana benthamiana plants when coinoculated with BaMV RNA. BSL6 significantly reduces BaMV RNA replication and suppresses the BaMV-induced symptoms, whereas BSF4 does not. By studies with chimeric satBaMVs generated by exchanging the components between BSF4 and BSL6, the genetic determinants responsible for the downregulation of BaMV replication and symptom expression were mapped at the 5′ untranslated region (UTR) of BSL6. The 5′ UTR of BSL6 alone is sufficient to diminish BaMV RNA replication when the 5′ UTR is inserted in cis into the BaMV expression vector or when coinoculation with mutants that block the synthesis of P20 protein takes place. Further, the 5′ UTR of natural satBaMV isolates contains one hypervariable (HV) region which folds into a conserved apical hairpin stem-loop (AHSL) structure (W. B. Yeh, Y. H. Hsu, H. C. Chen, and N. S. Lin, Virology 330:105-115, 2004). Interchanges of AHSL segment of HV regions between BSF4 and BSL6 led to the ability of chimeric satBaMV to interfere with BaMV replication and symptom expression. The conserved secondary structure within the HV region is a potent determinant of the downregulation of helper virus replication.
PMCID: PMC1395367  PMID: 16474162
10.  Subcellular localization and expression of bamboo mosaic virus satellite RNA-encoded protein 
The Journal of General Virology  2009;90(Pt 2):507-518.
The satellite RNA of bamboo mosaic virus (satBaMV) has a single open reading frame encoding a non-structural protein, P20, which facilitates long-distance movement of satBaMV in BaMV and satBaMV co-infected plants. Immunohistochemistry and immunoelectron microscopy revealed that the P20 protein accumulated in the cytoplasm and nuclei in co-infected cells. P20 and the helper virus coat protein (CP) were highly similar in their subcellular localization, except that aggregates of BaMV virions were not labelled with anti-P20 serum. The BaMV CP protein was fairly abundant in mesophyll cells, whilst P20 was more frequently detected in mesophyll cells and vascular tissues. The expression kinetics of the P20 protein was similar to but slightly earlier than that of CP in co-infected Bambusa oldhamii protoplasts and Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. However, satBaMV-encoded protein levels declined rapidly in the late phase of co-infection. During co-infection, in addition to the intact P20, a low-molecular-mass polypeptide of 16 kDa was identified as a P20 C-terminally truncated product; the possible method of generation of the truncated protein is discussed.
PMCID: PMC2885055  PMID: 19141462
11.  Generation of Subgenomic RNA Directed by a Satellite RNA Associated with Bamboo Mosaic Potexvirus: Analyses of Potexvirus Subgenomic RNA Promoter 
Journal of Virology  2000;74(22):10341-10348.
Satellite RNA of bamboo mosaic potexvirus (satBaMV), a single-stranded positive-sense RNA encoding a nonstructural protein of 20 kDa (P20), depends on bamboo mosaic potexvirus (BaMV) for replication and encapsidation. A full-length cDNA clone of satBaMV was used to examine the sequences required for the synthesis of potexvirus subgenomic RNAs (sgRNAs). Subgenomic promoter-like sequences (SGPs), 107 nucleotides (nt) upstream from the capsid protein (CP) gene of BaMV-V, were inserted upstream of the start codon of the P20 gene of satBaMV. Insertion of SGPs gave rise to the synthesis of sgRNA of satBaMV in protoplasts of Nicotiana benthamiana and leaves of Chenopodium quinoa when coinoculated with BaMV-V genomic RNA. Moreover, both the satBaMV cassette and its sgRNA were encapsidated. From analysis of the SGPs by deletion mutation, we concluded that an SGP contains one core promoterlike sequence (nt −30 through +16), two upstream enhancers (nt −59 through −31 and −91 through −60), and one downstream enhancer (nt +17 through +52), when the transcription initiation site is taken as +1. Site-directed mutagenesis and compensatory mutation to disrupt and restore potential base pairing in the core promoter-like sequence suggest that the stem-loop structure is important for the function of SGP in vivo. Likewise, the insertion of a putative SGP of the BaMV open reading frame 2 gene or a heterologous SGP of potato virus X resulted in generation of an sgRNA. The satBaMV cassette should be a useful tool to gain insight into sequences required for the synthesis of potexvirus sgRNAs.
PMCID: PMC110908  PMID: 11044078
12.  Chloroplast phosphoglycerate kinase, a gluconeogenetic enzyme, is required for efficient accumulation of Bamboo mosaic virus 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;35(2):424-432.
The tertiary structure in the 3′-untranslated region (3′-UTR) of Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV) RNA is known to be involved in minus-strand RNA synthesis. Proteins found in the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) fraction of BaMV-infected leaves interact with the radio labeled 3′-UTR probe in electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA). Results derived from the ultraviolet (UV) cross-linking competition assays suggested that two cellular factors, p43 and p51, interact specifically with the 3′-UTR of BaMV RNA. p43 and p51 associate with the poly(A) tail and the pseudoknot of the BaMV 3′-UTR, respectively. p51-containing extracts specifically down-regulated minus-strand RNA synthesis when added to in vitro RdRp assays. LC/MS/MS sequencing indicates that p43 is a chloroplast phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK). When the chloroplast PKG levels were knocked down in plants, using virus-induced gene silencing system, the accumulation level of BaMV coat protein was also reduced.
PMCID: PMC1802604  PMID: 17169994
13.  Characterization of the AdoMet-Dependent Guanylyltransferase Activity That Is Associated with the N Terminus of Bamboo Mosaic Virus Replicase 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(2):782-788.
Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV), a member of the potexvirus group, infects primarily members of the Bambusoideae. Open reading frame 1 (ORF1) of BaMV encodes a 155-kDa polypeptide that has long been postulated to be a replicase involved in the replication and formation of the cap structure at the 5′ end of the viral genome. To identify and characterize the enzymatic activities associated with the N-terminal domain of the BaMV ORF1 protein, the intact replicase and two C-terminally truncated proteins were expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. All three versions of BaMV ORF1 proteins could be radiolabeled by [α-32P]GTP, which is a characteristic of guanylyltransferase activity. The presence of S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) was essential for this enzymatic activity. Thin-layer chromatography analysis suggests that the radiolabeled moiety linked to the N-terminal domain of the BaMV ORF1 protein is m7GMP. The N-terminal domain also exhibited methyltransferase activity that catalyzes the transfer of the [3H]methyl group from AdoMet to GTP or guanylylimidodiphosphate. Therefore, during cap structure formation in BaMV, methylation of GTP may occur prior to transguanylation as for alphaviruses and brome mosaic virus. This study establishes the association of RNA capping activity with the N-terminal domain of the replicase of potexviruses and further supports the idea that the reaction sequence of RNA capping is conserved throughout the alphavirus-like superfamily of RNA viruses.
PMCID: PMC113974  PMID: 11134291
14.  Identification and Characterization of the Escherichia coli-Expressed RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase of Bamboo Mosaic Virus 
Journal of Virology  1998;72(12):10093-10099.
Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV), a member of the potexvirus group, infects primarily members of the Bambusoideae. The open reading frame 1 (ORF1) of BaMV encodes a 155-kDa polypeptide that was postulated to be involved in the replication and the formation of cap structure at the 5′ end of the viral genome. To characterize the activities associated with the 155-kDa viral protein, it was expressed in Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) cells with thioredoxin, hexahistidine, and S · Tag fused consecutively at its amino terminus, and the fusion protein was purified by metal affinity chromatography. Several RNA fragments, prepared by in vitro transcription, were tested as substrates for the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) activity. Among them, the expressed fusion enzyme was able to generate a 32P-labeled RNA product when 3′-end RNA fragments of the positive strand or negative strand of BaMV were included in the assay mixture. Dot hybridization assay revealed that the reaction products are complementary to their RNA substrates. Taken together, the evidence suggests that the 155-kDa protein encoded by ORF1 of BaMV has an RdRp activity and should be involved in the replication of BaMV. Mutational analyses demonstrate the importance of the GDD motif in the polymerase activity, and deletion studies suggest that the polymerase activity resides in the carboxyl terminus of the 155-kDa viral protein.
PMCID: PMC110542  PMID: 9811749
15.  The Synthesis of Minus-Strand RNA of Bamboo Mosaic Potexvirus Initiates from Multiple Sites within the Poly(A) Tail 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(12):6114-6120.
The 3′ terminus of the bamboo mosaic potexvirus (BaMV) contains a poly(A) tail, the 5′ portion of which participates in the formation of an RNA pseudoknot required for BaMV RNA replication. Recombinant RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) of BaMV binds to the pseudoknot poly(A) tail in gel mobility shift assays (C.-Y. Huang, Y.-L. Huang, M. Meng, Y.-H. Hsu, and C.-H. Tsai, J. Virol. 75:2818-2824, 2001). Approximately 20 nucleotides of the poly(A) tail adjacent to the 3′ untranslated region (UTR) are protected from diethylpyrocarbonate modification, suggesting that this region may be used to initiate minus-strand RNA synthesis. The 5′ terminus of the minus-strand RNA synthesized by the RdRp in vitro was examined using 5′ rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) and DNA sequencing. Minus-strand RNA synthesis was found to initiate from several positions within the poly(A) tail, with the highest frequency of initiation being from the 7th to the 10th adenylates counted from the 5′-most adenylate of the poly(A) tail. Sequence analyses of BaMV progeny RNAs recovered from Nicotiana benthamiana protoplasts which were inoculated with mutants containing a mutation at the 1st, 4th, 7th, or 16th position of the poly(A) tail suggested the existence of variable initiation sites, similar to those found in 5′ RACE experiments. We deduce that the initiation site for minus-strand RNA synthesis is not fixed at one position but resides opposite one of the 15 adenylates of the poly(A) tail immediately downstream of the 3′ UTR of BaMV genomic RNA.
PMCID: PMC136226  PMID: 12021344
16.  The Interaction between Bamboo Mosaic Virus Replication Protein and Coat Protein Is Critical for Virus Movement in Plant Hosts ▿ 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(22):12022-12031.
Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV) is a positive-sense RNA virus belonging to the genus Potexvirus. Open reading frame 1 (ORF1) encodes the viral replication protein that consists of a capping enzyme domain, a helicase-like domain (HLD), and an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase domain from the N to C terminus. ORF5 encodes the viral coat protein (CP) required for genome encapsidation and the virus movement in plants. In this study, application of a yeast-two hybrid assay detected an interaction between the viral HLD and CP. However, the interaction did not affect the NTPase activity of the HLD. To identify the critical amino acids of CP interacting with the HLD, a random mutational library of CP was created using error-prone PCR, and the mutations adversely affecting the interaction were screened by a bacterial two-hybrid system. As a result, the mutations A209G and N210S in CP were found to weaken the interaction. To determine the significance of the interaction, the mutations were introduced into a BaMV infectious clone, and the mutational effects on viral replication, movement, and genome encapsidation were investigated. There was no effect on accumulations of BaMV CP and genomic RNAs within protoplasts; however, the virus cell-to-cell movement in plants was restricted. Sequence alignment revealed that A209 of BaMV CP is conserved in many potexviruses. Mutation of the corresponding residue in Foxtail mosaic virus CP also reduced the viral HLD-CP interaction and restricted the virus movement, suggesting that interaction between CP and a widely conserved HLD in the potexviral replication protein is crucial for viral trafficking through plasmodesmata.
PMCID: PMC3209275  PMID: 21917973
17.  Phosphorylation of bamboo mosaic virus satellite RNA (satBaMV)-encoded protein P20 downregulates the formation of satBaMV-P20 ribonucleoprotein complex 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;40(2):638-649.
Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV) satellite RNA (satBaMV) depends on BaMV for its replication and encapsidation. SatBaMV-encoded P20 protein is an RNA-binding protein that facilitates satBaMV systemic movement in co-infected plants. Here, we examined phosphorylation of P20 and its regulatory functions. Recombinant P20 (rP20) was phosphorylated by host cellular kinase(s) in vitro, and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry and mutational analyses revealed Ser-11 as the phosphorylation site. The phosphor-mimic rP20 protein interactions with satBaMV-translated mutant P20 were affected. In overlay assay, the Asp mutation at S11 (S11D) completely abolished the self-interaction of rP20 and significantly inhibited the interaction with both the WT and S11A rP20. In chemical cross-linking assays, S11D failed to oligomerize. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay and subsequent Hill transformation analysis revealed a low affinity of the phospho-mimicking rP20 for satBaMV RNA. Substantial modulation of satBaMV RNA conformation upon interaction with nonphospho-mimic rP20 in circular dichroism analysis indicated formation of stable satBaMV ribonucleoprotein complexes. The dissimilar satBaMV translation regulation of the nonphospho- and phospho-mimic rP20 suggests that phosphorylation of P20 in the ribonucleoprotein complex converts the translation-incompetent satBaMV RNA to messenger RNA. The phospho-deficient or phospho-mimicking P20 mutant of satBaMV delayed the systemic spread of satBaMV in co-infected Nicotiana benthamiana with BaMV. Thus, satBaMV likely regulates the formation of satBaMV RNP complex during co-infection in planta.
PMCID: PMC3258126  PMID: 21965537
18.  Optimized cDNA libraries for virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) using tobacco rattle virus 
Plant Methods  2008;4:5.
Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) has emerged as a method for performing rapid loss-of-function experiments in plants. Despite its expanding use, the effect of host gene insert length and other properties on silencing efficiency have not been systematically tested. In this study, we probed the optimal properties of cDNA fragments of the phytoene desaturase (PDS) gene for efficient VIGS in Nicotiana benthamiana using tobacco rattle virus (TRV).
NbPDS inserts of between 192 bp and 1304 bp led to efficient silencing as determined by analysis of leaf chlorophyll a levels. The region of the NbPDS cDNA used for silencing had a small effect on silencing efficiency with 5' and 3' located inserts performing more poorly than those from the middle. Silencing efficiency was reduced by the inclusion of a 24 bp poly(A) or poly(G) homopolymeric region. We developed a method for constructing cDNA libraries for use as a source of VIGS-ready constructs. Library construction involved the synthesis of cDNA on a solid phase support, digestion with RsaI to yield short cDNA fragments lacking poly(A) tails and suppression subtractive hybridization to enrich for differentially expressed transcripts. We constructed two cDNA libraries from methyl-jasmonate treated N. benthamiana roots and obtained 2948 ESTs. Thirty percent of the cDNA inserts were 401–500 bp in length and 99.5% lacked poly(A) tails. To test the efficiency of constructs derived from the VIGS-cDNA libraries, we silenced the nicotine biosynthetic enzyme, putrescine N-methyltransferase (PMT), with ten different VIGS-NbPMT constructs ranging from 122 bp to 517 bp. Leaf nicotine levels were reduced by more than 90% in all plants infected with the NbPMT constructs.
Based on the silencing of NbPDS and NbPMT, we suggest the following design guidelines for constructs in TRV vectors: (1) Insert lengths should be in the range of ~200 bp to ~1300 bp, (2) they should be positioned in the middle of the cDNA and (3) homopolymeric regions (i.e. poly(A/T) tails) should not be included. Our VIGS-cDNA library method, which incorporates these guidelines to produce sequenced, VIGS-ready cDNAs, will be useful for both fast-forward and reverse genetics experiments in TRV vectors.
PMCID: PMC2254408  PMID: 18211705
19.  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
20.  Discovering Host Genes Involved in the Infection by the Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus Complex and in the Establishment of Resistance to the Virus Using Tobacco Rattle Virus-based Post Transcriptional Gene Silencing  
Viruses  2013;5(3):998-1022.
The development of high-throughput technologies allows for evaluating gene expression at the whole-genome level. Together with proteomic and metabolomic studies, these analyses have resulted in the identification of plant genes whose function or expression is altered as a consequence of pathogen attacks. Members of the Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) complex are among the most important pathogens impairing production of agricultural crops worldwide. To understand how these geminiviruses subjugate plant defenses, and to devise counter-measures, it is essential to identify the host genes affected by infection and to determine their role in susceptible and resistant plants. We have used a reverse genetics approach based on Tobacco rattle virus-induced gene silencing (TRV-VIGS) to uncover genes involved in viral infection of susceptible plants, and to identify genes underlying virus resistance. To identify host genes with a role in geminivirus infection, we have engineered a Nicotiana benthamiana line, coined 2IRGFP, which over-expresses GFP upon virus infection. With this system, we have achieved an accurate description of the dynamics of virus replication in space and time. Upon silencing selected N. benthamiana genes previously shown to be related to host response to geminivirus infection, we have identified eighteen genes involved in a wide array of cellular processes. Plant genes involved in geminivirus resistance were studied by comparing two tomato lines: one resistant (R), the other susceptible (S) to the virus. Sixty-nine genes preferentially expressed in R tomatoes were identified by screening cDNA libraries from infected and uninfected R and S genotypes. Out of the 25 genes studied so far, the silencing of five led to the total collapse of resistance, suggesting their involvement in the resistance gene network. This review of our results indicates that TRV-VIGS is an exquisite reverse genetics tool that may provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying plant infection and resistance to infection by begomoviruses.
PMCID: PMC3705308  PMID: 23524390
Tomato yellow leaf curl disease; geminiviruses; plant-resistance; tomato; VIGS; reverse genetics; plant-virus interaction
21.  Virus-induced Gene Silencing (VIGS) in Nicotiana benthamiana and Tomato 
RNA interference (RNAi) is a highly specific gene-silencing phenomenon triggered by dsRNA1. This silencing mechanism uses two major classes of RNA regulators: microRNAs, which are produced from non-protein coding genes and short interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Plants use RNAi to control transposons and to exert tight control over developmental processes such as flower organ formation and leaf development2,3,4. Plants also use RNAi to defend themselves against infection by viruses. Consequently, many viruses have evolved suppressors of gene silencing to allow their successful colonization of their host5.
Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) is a method that takes advantage of the plant RNAi-mediated antiviral defense mechanism. In plants infected with unmodified viruses the mechanism is specifically targeted against the viral genome. However, with virus vectors carrying sequences derived from host genes, the process can be additionally targeted against the corresponding host mRNAs. VIGS has been adapted for high-throughput functional genomics in plants by using the plant pathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens to deliver, via its Ti plasmid, a recombinant virus carrying the entire or part of the gene sequence targeted for silencing. Systemic virus spread and the endogenous plant RNAi machinery take care of the rest. dsRNAs corresponding to the target gene are produced and then cleaved by the ribonuclease Dicer into siRNAs of 21 to 24 nucleotides in length. These siRNAs ultimately guide the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) to degrade the target transcript2.
Different vectors have been employed in VIGS and one of the most frequently used is based on tobacco rattle virus (TRV). TRV is a bipartite virus and, as such, two different A. tumefaciens strains are used for VIGS. One carries pTRV1, which encodes the replication and movement viral functions while the other, pTRV2, harbors the coat protein and the sequence used for VIGS6,7. Inoculation of Nicotiana benthamiana and tomato seedlings with a mixture of both strains results in gene silencing. Silencing of the endogenous phytoene desaturase (PDS) gene, which causes photobleaching, is used as a control for VIGS efficiency. It should be noted, however, that silencing in tomato is usually less efficient than in N. benthamiana. RNA transcript abundance of the gene of interest should always be measured to ensure that the target gene has efficiently been down-regulated. Nevertheless, heterologous gene sequences from N. benthamiana can be used to silence their respective orthologs in tomato and vice versa8.
PMCID: PMC2795700  PMID: 19516240
22.  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
23.  The conserved 5′ apical hairpin stem loops of bamboo mosaic virus and its satellite RNA contribute to replication competence 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;40(10):4641-4652.
Satellite RNAs associated with Bamboo mosaic virus (satBaMVs) depend on BaMV for replication and encapsidation. Certain satBaMVs isolated from natural fields significantly interfere with BaMV replication. The 5′ apical hairpin stem loop (AHSL) of satBaMV is the major determinant in interference with BaMV replication. In this study, by in vivo competition assay, we revealed that the sequence and structure of AHSL, along with specific nucleotides (C60 and C83) required for interference with BaMV replication, are also involved in replication competition among satBaMV variants. Moreover, all of the 5′ ends of natural BaMV isolates contain the similar AHSLs having conserved nucleotides (C64 and C86) with those of interfering satBaMVs, suggesting their co-evolution. Mutational analyses revealed that C86 was essential for BaMV replication, and that replacement of C64 with U reduced replication efficiency. The non-interfering satBaMV interfered with BaMV replication with the BaMV-C64U mutant as helper. These findings suggest that two cytosines at the equivalent positions in the AHSLs of BaMV and satBaMV play a crucial role in replication competence. The downregulation level, which is dependent upon the molar ratio of interfering satBaMV to BaMV, implies that there is competition for limited replication machinery.
PMCID: PMC3378871  PMID: 22278884
24.  Sequences at the 3′ Untranslated Region of Bamboo Mosaic Potexvirus RNA Interact with the Viral RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(6):2818-2824.
The 3′ untranslated region (UTR) of bamboo mosaic potexvirus (BaMV) genomic RNA was found to fold into a series of stem-loop structures including a pseudoknot structure. These structures were demonstrated to be important for viral RNA replication and were believed to be recognized by the replicase (C.-P. Cheng and C.-H. Tsai, J. Mol. Biol. 288:555–565, 1999). Electrophoretic mobility shift and competition assays have now been used to demonstrate that the Escherichia coli-expressed RNA-dependent RNA polymerase domain (Δ893) derived from BaMV open reading frame 1 could specifically bind to the 3′ UTR of BaMV RNA. No competition was observed when bovine liver tRNAs or poly(I)(C) double-stranded homopolymers were used as competitors, and the cucumber mosaic virus 3′ UTR was a less efficient competitor. Competition analysis with different regions of the BaMV 3′ UTR showed that Δ893 binds to at least two independent RNA binding sites, stem-loop D and the poly(A) tail. Footprinting analysis revealed that Δ893 could protect the sequences at loop D containing the potexviral conserved hexamer motif and part of the stem of domain D from chemical cleavage.
PMCID: PMC115907  PMID: 11222706
25.  Genetic Diversity and Evolution of Satellite RNAs Associated with the Bamboo Mosaic Virus 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108015.
Satellite RNAs (satRNAs) are subviral agents that depend on cognate helper viruses for genome replication and encapsidation. Their negative impacts on helper viruses have been exploited to control plant viral diseases. SatBaMV is a commonly found satRNA associated with Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV) that infects diverse bamboo species in the field. To investigate the genetic diversity and evolution of satRNAs, we examined seven satBaMV populations derived from five bamboo species and cultivars from Taiwan, China, and India and one from the greenhouse. We found 3 distinct clades among the seven populations. Clade I is consisted of all satBaMV isolates, except for those from Dendrocalamus latiflorus in Taiwan and Bambusa vulgaris in India, which belong to Clades II and III, respectively. Interestingly, nucleotide diversity was lower for Clade I than II and III. However, the nucleotide diversity did not seem to depend on bamboo species or geographic location. Our population genetic analyses revealed the presence of excessive low-frequency polymorphic sites, which suggests that the satBaMV population was under purifying selection and/or population expansion. Further analysis of P20, the only satBaMV gene that encodes a non-structural protein involved in the long-distance movement of satBaMV, showed evidence of purifying selection. Taken together, our results suggest that purifying selection against defective P20 protein is responsible at least in part for the evolution of the satBaMV genome.
PMCID: PMC4183488  PMID: 25275532

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