Tobacco mesophyll protoplasts infected with raspberry ringspot virus (RRV) show faint generalized staining when treated with fluorescent antibody to RRV, but many brightly staining granules develop after inoculation with a mixture of RRV and the CAM strain of tobacco rattle virus (TRV-CAM). The phenomenon occurred with three different strains of RRV but not when tobacco mosaic virus, or two other strains of tobacco rattle virus, were substituted for the CAM strain. The RRV antigen aggregates were produced only in protoplasts that synthesized TRV-CAM nucleoprotein, and they seemed not to result from enhanced accumulation of RRV. They were also produced in intact leaves of doubly infected plants, and in protoplasts from singly infected plants that were superinfected with the second virus of the pair.

On mixing in a wide range of conditions, purified preparations of RRV and TRV-CAM formed aggregates containing particles of both viruses, and this reaction had the same virus and strain specificity as the production of RRV antigen aggregates . Aggregation seems to result from a reaction that increases hydrophobicity and not from electrostatic attraction of particles of opposite charge. It is concluded that the production of these aggregates results from a redistribution of RRV particles or coat protein within the protoplast or cell, and that this occurs because of the affinity between RRV particle antigen and TRV-CAM nucleoprotein, the longer particles of which accumulate predominantly on the surface of mitochondria.


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