Antibodies raised against the 42K non-structural P3 protein encoded by the RNA genome of a potyvirus (tobacco vein mottling virus, TVMV) have been used with immunogold labelling procedures to determine the subcellular location of P3 in infected cells. P3-specific gold label was found almost exclusively associated with the cylindrical inclusions typically formed in the cytoplasm of potyvirus-infected cells by another non-structural viral protein, the cylindrical inclusion protein. The P3 antibodies reacted with inclusions in both the transverse (pinwheel-like) and longitudinal (bundle-like) orientations of these structures. Immunocytological examination of TVMV-infected protoplasts showed the association of P3 with cylindrical inclusions during the early stages of formation of these structures and suggests that the P3 may be involved in the replication of potyviral RNA.


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