The synthesis of proteins encoded by the RNA of tomato black ring virus (TBRV) was studied in protoplasts by direct labelling with [S]methionine, and in protoplasts and plants by immunoblotting experiments with specific antisera. Comparison of the proteins synthesized in infected and mock-inoculated protoplasts suggested that proteins of 120K, 90K, 80K, 57K and 46K were virus-specific. The proteins derived from the RNA-1-encoded polyprotein detected by immunoblotting were a stable 120K protein and, only in protoplasts, small amounts of a 90K protein which contains the C-terminal part of the 120K protein and the polymerase domain. The results suggest that the polymerase and the adjacent protease function largely or solely when combined in a 120K protein. The proteins derived from the RNA-2-encoded polyprotein detected by immunoblotting were 59K and 57K proteins, which reacted with antiserum to TBRV particles, and a 46K protein. In extracts of infected and made soon after inoculation, the 59K protein was more abundant than the 57K protein; later samples contained similar quantities of each protein. The 57K protein comigrated with protein extracted from virus particles. The results of amino acid sequencing suggested that the 57K protein is derived from the 59K protein by the loss of nine C-terminal amino acids. Antiserum to a peptide adjacent to the 57K protein in the 150K polyprotein detected a 46K protein in protoplasts and plant tissue. The results support the processing scheme for TBRV polyproteins proposed after analysis of the products of translation.


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