The triple gene block (TGB) of beet necrotic yellow vein virus RNA 2 is required for cell-to-cell movement of the virus RNA. The protein P42 encoded by the 5′-proximal gene of the TGB has consensus sequence motifs characteristic of an ATP/GTP-dependent helicase. P42 was over-expressed in and shown to bind both single- and double-stranded RNA and DNA by Northwestern blotting. Site-directed mutagenesis located the nucleic acid-binding domain to the N-terminal 24 amino acids of the protein and a point mutation or deletions in the region of P42 containing the helicase consensus sequences did not affect nucleic acid-binding activity of the immobilized protein. Electrophoretic mobility-shift assays revealed that P42 also binds nucleic acids in solution and that deletion of the N-terminal region inhibits this binding. Mutations in both the N-terminal nucleic acid-binding domain and the helicase domain blocked infection of leaves, indicating that both regions of P42 are important for its activity .


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