The common strain of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) which does not multiply in cowpea plants, can infect isolated cowpea mesophyll protoplasts to a level of 50 to 70%. The highest percentage of infection was obtained when both the virus and the protoplasts were preincubated with poly--lysine and inoculation was with 1 µg/ml virus, 1 µg/ml poly--lysine, 2 × 10 protoplasts/ml in 0.6 -mannitol, 0.1 -potassium phosphate pH 5.4 at 0 °C for 7.5 min. The rate of virus multiplication in the infected protoplasts proceeded rather slowly and the increase in the percentage of infected protoplasts extended over 40 h. This can be explained by assuming a variable dose of infecting virus particles resulting in a considerable asynchrony in the infection process for different protoplasts. The course of infection of the common strain of TMV in cowpea protoplasts is similar to that of the cowpea strain of TMV, which has cowpea as a natural host.


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