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1.  Virus-Derived Gene Expression and RNA Interference Vector for Grapevine 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(11):6002-6009.
The improvement of the agricultural and wine-making qualities of the grapevine (Vitis vinifera) is hampered by adherence to traditional varieties, the recalcitrance of this plant to genetic modifications, and public resistance to genetically modified organism (GMO) technologies. To address these challenges, we developed an RNA virus-based vector for the introduction of desired traits into grapevine without heritable modifications to the genome. This vector expresses recombinant proteins in the phloem tissue that is involved in sugar transport throughout the plant, from leaves to roots to berries. Furthermore, the vector provides a powerful RNA interference (RNAi) capability of regulating the expression of endogenous genes via virus-induced gene-silencing (VIGS) technology. Additional advantages of this vector include superb genetic capacity and stability, as well as the swiftness of technology implementation. The most significant applications of the viral vector include functional genomics of the grapevine and disease control via RNAi-enabled vaccination against pathogens or invertebrate pests.
doi:10.1128/JVI.00436-12
PMCID: PMC3372183  PMID: 22438553
2.  Arabidopsis Myosin XI-K Localizes to the Motile Endomembrane Vesicles Associated with F-actin 
Plant myosins XI were implicated in cell growth, F-actin organization, and organelle transport, with myosin XI-K being a critical contributor to each of these processes. However, subcellular localization of myosins and the identity of their principal cargoes remain poorly understood. Here, we generated a functionally competent, fluorescent protein-tagged, myosin XI-K, and investigated its spatial distribution within Arabidopsis cells. This myosin was found to associate primarily not with larger organelles (e.g., Golgi) as was broadly assumed, but with endomembrane vesicles trafficking along F-actin. Subcellular localization and fractionation experiments indicated that the nature of myosin-associated vesicles is organ- and cell type-specific. In leaves, a large proportion of these vesicles aligned and co-fractionated with a motile endoplasmic reticulum (ER) subdomain. In roots, non-ER vesicles were a dominant myosin cargo. Myosin XI-K showed a striking polar localization at the tips of growing, but not mature, root hairs. These results strongly suggest that a major mechanism whereby myosins contribute to plant cell physiology is vesicle transport, and that this activity can be regulated depending on the growth phase of a cell.
doi:10.3389/fpls.2012.00184
PMCID: PMC3432474  PMID: 22969781
Arabidopsis; myosin XI; filamentous actin; endomembrane vesicles; transport vesicles
3.  Virion Tails of Beet Yellows Virus: Coordinated Assembly by Three Structural Proteins 
Virology  2006;359(1):220-226.
Filamentous virions of Beet yellows virus contain a long body formed by a major capsid protein and a short tail that is assembled by a minor capsid protein (CPm), an Hsp70-homolog (Hsp70h), a 64-kDa protein (p64), and a 20-kDa protein (p20). Using mutation analysis and newly developed in planta assays, here we investigate the genetic requirements for the tail assembly. We show that the inactivation of CPm dramatically reduces incorporation of both Hsp70h and p64. Furthermore, inactivation of Hsp70h prevents incorporation of p64 into virions and vice versa. Hsp70h and p64 are each required for efficient incorporation of CPm. We also show that the tails possessing normal relative amounts of CPm, Hsp70h, and p64 can be formed in the absence of the major capsid protein and p20. Similar to the tails isolated from the wild type virions, these mutant tails encapsidate the ~700 nt-long, 5’-terminal segments of the viral RNA. Taken together, our results imply that CPm, Hsp70h and p64 act cooperatively to encapsidate a defined region of the closterovirus genome.
doi:10.1016/j.virol.2006.09.007
PMCID: PMC1847569  PMID: 17027895
Virus assembly; helical virion; Closterovirus; Hsp70
4.  Actin Cytoskeleton Is Involved in Targeting of a Viral Hsp70 Homolog to the Cell Periphery 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(22):14421-14428.
The cell-to-cell movement of plant viruses involves translocation of virus particles or nucleoproteins to and through the plasmodesmata (PDs). As we have shown previously, the movement of the Beet yellows virus requires the concerted action of five viral proteins including a homolog of cellular ∼70-kDa heat shock proteins (Hsp70h). Hsp70h is an integral component of the virus particles and is also found in PDs of the infected cells. Here we investigate subcellular distribution of Hsp70h using transient expression of Hsp70h fused to three spectrally distinct fluorescent proteins. We found that fluorophore-tagged Hsp70h forms motile granules that are associated with actin microfilaments, but not with microtubules. In addition, immobile granules were observed at the cell periphery. A pairwise appearance of these granules at the opposite sides of cell walls and their colocalization with the movement protein of Tobacco mosaic virus indicated an association of Hsp70h with PDs. Treatment with various cytoskeleton-specific drugs revealed that the intact actomyosin motility system is required for trafficking of Hsp70h in cytosol and its targeting to PDs. In contrast, none of the drugs interfered with the PD localization of Tobacco mosaic virus movement protein. Collectively, these findings suggest that Hsp70h is translocated and anchored to PDs in association with the actin cytoskeleton.
doi:10.1128/JVI.79.22.14421-14428.2005
PMCID: PMC1280222  PMID: 16254376
5.  Movement Protein of a Closterovirus Is a Type III Integral Transmembrane Protein Localized to the Endoplasmic Reticulum 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(7):3704-3709.
Cell-to-cell movement of beet yellows closterovirus requires four structural proteins and a 6-kDa protein (p6) that is a conventional, nonstructural movement protein. Here we demonstrate that either virus infection or p6 overexpression results in association of p6 with the rough endoplasmic reticulum. The p6 protein possesses a single-span, transmembrane, N-terminal domain and a hydrophilic, C-terminal domain that is localized on the cytoplasmic face of the endoplasmic reticulum. In the infected cells, p6 forms a disulfide bridge via a cysteine residue located near the protein's N terminus. Mutagenic analyses indicated that each of the p6 domains, as well as protein dimerization, is essential for p6 function in virus movement.
doi:10.1128/JVI.78.7.3704-3709.2004
PMCID: PMC371079  PMID: 15016890
6.  Interaction between Long-Distance Transport Factor and Hsp70-Related Movement Protein of Beet Yellows Virus 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(21):11003-11011.
Systemic spread of viruses in plants involves local movement from cell to cell and long-distance transport through the vascular system. The cell-to-cell movement of the Beet yellows virus (BYV) is mediated by a movement protein that is an Hsp70 homolog (Hsp70h). This protein is required for the assembly of movement-competent virions that incorporate Hsp70h. By using the yeast two-hybrid system, in vitro coimmunoprecipitation, and in planta coexpression approaches, we show here that the Hsp70h interacts with a 20-kDa BYV protein (p20). We further demonstrate that p20 is associated with the virions presumably via binding to Hsp70h. Genetic and immunochemical analyses indicate that p20 is dispensable for assembly and cell-to-cell movement of BYV but is required for the long-distance transport of virus through the phloem. These results reveal a novel activity for the Hsp70h that provides a molecular link between the local and systemic spread of a plant virus by docking a long-distance transport factor to virions.
doi:10.1128/JVI.76.21.11003-11011.2002
PMCID: PMC136651  PMID: 12368343
7.  Functional Specialization and Evolution of Leader Proteinases in the Family Closteroviridae 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(24):12153-12160.
Members of the Closteroviridae and Potyviridae families of the plant positive-strand RNA viruses encode one or two papain-like leader proteinases. In addition to a C-terminal proteolytic domain, each of these proteinases possesses a nonproteolytic N-terminal domain. We compared functions of the several leader proteinases using a gene swapping approach. The leader proteinase (L-Pro) of Beet yellows virus (BYV; a closterovirus) was replaced with L1 or L2 proteinases of Citrus tristeza virus (CTV; another closterovirus), P-Pro proteinase of Lettuce infectious yellows virus (LIYV; a crinivirus), and HC-Pro proteinase of Tobacco etch virus (a potyvirus). Each foreign proteinase efficiently processed the chimeric BYV polyprotein in vitro. However, only L1 and P-Pro, not L2 and HC-Pro, were able to rescue the amplification of the chimeric BYV variants. The combined expression of L1 and L2 resulted in an increased RNA accumulation compared to that of the parental BYV. Remarkably, this L1-L2 chimera exhibited reduced invasiveness and inability to move from cell to cell. Similar analyses of the BYV hybrids, in which only the papain-like domain of L-Pro was replaced with those derived from L1, L2, P-Pro, and HC-Pro, also revealed functional specialization of these domains. In subcellular-localization experiments, distinct patterns were observed for the leader proteinases of BYV, CTV, and LIYV. Taken together, these results demonstrated that, in addition to a common proteolytic activity, the leader proteinases of closteroviruses possess specialized functions in virus RNA amplification, virus invasion, and cell-to-cell movement. The phylogenetic analysis suggested that functionally distinct L1 and L2 of CTV originated by a gene duplication event.
doi:10.1128/JVI.75.24.12153-12160.2001
PMCID: PMC116111  PMID: 11711606

Results 1-7 (7)