The NIa-like protein of plum pox virus is a protease with high sequence specificity that is autocatalytically released from the viral polyprotein. In order to determine whether the protease is active in trans we constructed a fusion protein consisting of the C-terminal region of the plum pox virus polyprotein and the staphylococcal Protein A. The authentic protease recognition sequence Asn-Val-Val-Val-His-Gln-Ala occurs in the centre of this protein fusion. This protein was cleaved specifically by extracts of plum pox virus-infected plants due to the strong activity of the viral protease making it a useful tool for diagnostic purposes.


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