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author:("Hsu, Yau-hei")
1.  The Molecular Basis for Flexibility in the Flexible Filamentous Plant Viruses 
Flexible filamentous plant viruses are responsible for more than half the viral crop damage in the world, but are also potentially useful for biotechnology. Structural studies began more than 75 years ago but have failed due to the virion’s extreme flexibility. We have used cryo–EM to generate an atomic model for bamboo mosaic virus revealing flexible N– and C–terminal extensions that allow deformation while still maintaining structural integrity.
PMCID: PMC4527879  PMID: 26167882
2.  Promotion of Bamboo Mosaic Virus Accumulation in Nicotiana benthamiana by 5′→3′ Exonuclease NbXRN4 
Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV) has a 6.4-kb (+) sense RNA genome with a 5′ cap and a 3′ poly(A) tail. ORF1 of this potexvirus encodes a 155-kDa replication protein responsible for the viral RNA replication/transcription and 5′ cap formation. To learn more about the replication complex of BaMV, a protein preparation enriched in the 155-kDa replication protein was obtained from Nicotiana benthamiana by a protocol involving agroinfiltration and immunoprecipitation. Subsequent analysis by SDS-PAGE and mass spectrometry identified a handful of host proteins that may participate in the viral replication. Among them, the cytoplasmic exoribonuclease NbXRN4 particularly caught our attention. NbXRN4 has been shown to have an antiviral activity against Tomato bushy stunt virus and Tomato mosaic virus. In Arabidopsis, the enzyme could reduce RNAi- and miRNA-mediated RNA decay. This study found that downregulation of NbXRN4 greatly decreased BaMV accumulation, while overexpression of NbXRN4 resulted in an opposite effect. Mutations at the catalytically essential residues abolished the function of NbXRN4 in the increase of BaMV accumulation. Nonetheless, NbXRN4 was still able to promote BaMV accumulation in the presence of the RNA silencing suppressor P19. In summary, the replication efficiency of BaMV may be improved by the exoribonuclease activity of NbXRN4.
PMCID: PMC4702010  PMID: 26779163
Bamboo mosaic virus; potexvirus; RNA replication; replicase; replication protein; host factors; exonuclease; XRN4
3.  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
4.  Characterization of the Cryptic AV3 Promoter of Ageratum Yellow Vein Virus in Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Systems 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108608.
A cryptic prokaryotic promoter, designated AV3 promoter, has been previously identified in certain begomovirus genus, including ageratum yellow vein virus isolate NT (AYVV-NT). In this study, we demonstrated that the core nucleotides in the putative −10 and −35 boxes are necessary but not sufficient for promoter activity in Escherichia coli, and showed that AYVV-NT AV3 promoter could specifically interact with single-stranded DNA-binding protein and sigma 70 of E. coli involved in transcription. Several AYVV-NT-encoded proteins were found to increase the activity of AV3 promoter. The transcription start sites downstream to AV3 promoter were mapped to nucleotide positions 803 or 805 in E. coli, and 856 in Nicotiana benthamiana. The eukaryotic activity of AV3 promoter and the translatability of a short downstream open reading frame were further confirmed by using a green fluorescent protein reporter construct in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) cells. These results suggested that AV3 promoter might be a remnant of evolution that retained cryptic activity at present.
PMCID: PMC4182527  PMID: 25268755
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.  A Novel Prokaryotic Promoter Identified in the Genome of Some Monopartite Begomoviruses 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e70037.
Geminiviruses are known to exhibit both prokaryotic and eukaryotic features in their genomes, with the ability to express their genes and even replicate in bacterial cells. We have demonstrated previously the existence of unit-length single-stranded circular DNAs of Ageratum yellow vein virus (AYVV, a species in the genus Begomovirus, family Geminiviridae) in Escherichia coli cells, which prompted our search for unknown prokaryotic functions in the begomovirus genomes. By using a promoter trapping strategy, we identified a novel prokaryotic promoter, designated AV3 promoter, in nts 762-831 of the AYVV genome. Activity assays revealed that the AV3 promoter is strong, unidirectional, and constitutive, with an endogenous downstream ribosome binding site and a translatable short open reading frame of eight amino acids. Sequence analyses suggested that the AV3 promoter might be a remnant of prokaryotic ancestors that could be related to certain promoters of bacteria from marine or freshwater environments. The discovery of the prokaryotic AV3 promoter provided further evidence for the prokaryotic origin in the evolutionary history of geminiviruses.
PMCID: PMC3723831  PMID: 23936138
7.  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
8.  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
9.  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
10.  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
11.  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
12.  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
13.  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
14.  Identification of differentially expressed genes induced by Bamboo mosaic virus infection in Nicotiana benthamiana by cDNA-amplified fragment length polymorphism 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:286.
The genes of plants can be up- or down-regulated during viral infection to influence the replication of viruses. Identification of these differentially expressed genes could shed light on the defense systems employed by plants and the mechanisms involved in the adaption of viruses to plant cells. Differential gene expression in Nicotiana benthamiana plants in response to infection with Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV) was revealed using cDNA-amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP).
Following inoculation with BaMV, N. benthamiana displayed differential gene expression in response to the infection. Isolation, cloning, and sequencing analysis using cDNA-AFLP furnished 90 cDNA fragments with eight pairs of selective primers. Fifteen randomly selected genes were used for a combined virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) knockdown experiment, using BaMV infection to investigate the roles played by these genes during viral infection, specifically addressing the means by which these genes influence the accumulation of BaMV protein. Nine of the 15 genes showed either a positive or a negative influence on the accumulation of BaMV protein. Six knockdown plants showed an increase in the accumulation of BaMV, suggesting that they played a role in the resistance to viral infection, while three plants showed a reduction in coat protein, indicating a positive influence on the accumulation of BaMV in plants. An interesting observation was that eight of the nine plants showing an increase in BaMV coat protein were associated with cell rescue, defense, death, aging, signal transduction, and energy production.
This study reports an efficient and straightforward method for the identification of host genes involved in viral infection. We succeeded in establishing a cDNA-AFLP system to help track changes in gene expression patterns in N. benthamiana plants when infected with BaMV. The combination of both DNA-AFLP and VIGS methodologies made it possible to screen a large number of genes and identify those associated with infections of plant viruses. In this report, 9 of the 15 analyzed genes exhibited either a positive or a negative influence on the accumulation of BaMV in N. benthamiana plants.
PMCID: PMC3024324  PMID: 21184690
15.  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
16.  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
17.  Satellite RNAs and Satellite Viruses of Plants 
Viruses  2009;1(3):1325-1350.
The view that satellite RNAs (satRNAs) and satellite viruses are purely molecular parasites of their cognate helper viruses has changed. The molecular mechanisms underlying the synergistic and/or antagonistic interactions among satRNAs/satellite viruses, helper viruses, and host plants are beginning to be comprehended. This review aims to summarize the recent achievements in basic and practical research, with special emphasis on the involvement of RNA silencing mechanisms in the pathogenicity, population dynamics, and, possibly, the origin(s) of these subviral agents. With further research following current trends, the comprehensive understanding of satRNAs and satellite viruses could lead to new insights into the trilateral interactions among host plants, viruses, and satellites.
PMCID: PMC3185516  PMID: 21994595
satellite RNA; satellite virus; replication; RNA silencing; pathogenicity
18.  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
19.  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
20.  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
21.  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
23.  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
24.  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
25.  Structural and Functional Analysis of the cis-Acting Elements Required for Plus-Strand RNA Synthesis of Bamboo Mosaic Virus 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(14):9046-9053.
Bamboo mosaic virus (BaMV) has a single-stranded positive-sense RNA genome. The secondary structure of the 3′-terminal sequence of the minus-strand RNA has been predicted by MFOLD and confirmed by enzymatic structural probing to consist of a large, stable stem-loop and a small, unstable stem-loop. To identify the promoter for plus-strand RNA synthesis in this region, transcripts of 39, 77, and 173 nucleotides (Ba-39, Ba-77, and Ba-173, respectively) derived from the 3′ terminus of the minus-strand RNA were examined by an in vitro RNA-dependent RNA polymerase assay for the ability to direct RNA synthesis. Ba-77 and Ba-39 appeared to direct the RNA synthesis efficiently, while Ba-173 failed. Ba-77/Δ5, with a deletion of the 3′-terminal UUUUC sequence in Ba-77, directed the RNA synthesis only to 7% that of Ba-77. However, Ba-77/Δ16 and Ba-77/Δ31, with longer deletions but preserving the terminal UUUUC sequence of Ba-77, restored the template activity to about 60% that of the wild type. Moreover, mutations that changed the sequence in the stem of the large stem-loop interfered with the efficiency of RNA synthesis and RNA accumulation in vivo. The mutant with an internal deletion in the region between the terminal UUUUC sequence and the large stem-loop reduced the viral RNA accumulation in protoplasts, but mutants with insertions did not. Taken together, these results suggest that three cis-acting elements in the 3′ end of the minus-strand RNA, namely, the terminal UUUUC sequence, the sequence in the large stem-loop, and the distance between these two regions, are involved in modulating the efficiency of BaMV plus-strand viral RNA synthesis.
PMCID: PMC1168787  PMID: 15994798

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