Particles of several symptom-modulating TCV coat protein (CP) mutants were pretreated at pH 5.5, 7.5 or 8.5 and their conformations compared by agarose gel electrophoresis to those of wild-type particles. Particles of two mutants were swollen under conditions in which wild-type particles remained contracted; particles of one mutant were contracted under conditions in which wild-type particles were swollen; a portion of the particles of one mutant was contracted and another portion swollen under conditions in which wild-type particles remained contracted; and particles of one mutant, that elicited wild-type symptoms, comigrated with wild-type particles under all conditions tested. The results of translation experiments with mutant particles were essentially similar to those with wild-type particles, despite conformational differences at pH 5.5 and 8.5. These results suggest that more than the swollen conformation is required for translation, and that particle conformation may play a role in symptom elicitation.


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