The effect of dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) on the stability of native and EDTA-treated tobacco mosaic virus (TMV, strain) has been reinvestigated using a variety of chemical and biochemical techniques. Contrary to earlier reports, we conclude that TMV rods behave as a heterodisperse population, exhibiting one of two modes of uncoating. More than 50% of the rods disassemble rapidly and extensively in a unique polar fashion beginning at the 5′-end of the viral RNA. The remainder of the rod population uncoats more slowly, less extensively, and exhibits substantial bidirectional exposure of the viral RNA, commencing at the 3′-terminus but proceeding for no more than 500 nucleotides before the major uncoating event again shifts to the 5′-ends of the particles. A portion of the coat protein gene and the region around the assembly initiation site on the viral RNA appears most resistant to uni- or bidirectional stripping; this is in contrast to previous reports. This complex, biphasic behaviour of the TMV rod population, which produces two broad and relatively ill-defined peaks of metastable nucleoprotein intermediates, may account for many of the inconsistencies prevalent in earlier work.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Most cited this month Most Cited RSS feed

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error