The cucumoviral 2b protein is a viral counterdefence factor that interferes with the establishment of virus-induced gene silencing in plants. Synthetic peptides were used to generate an antibody to the 2b protein encoded by the Fny strain of cucumber mosaic virus (Fny-CMV). This polyclonal antibody was able to recognize the Fny-CMV 2b protein in a 10000  pellet fraction of infected tobacco. No protein of equivalent size was detected in mock-inoculated or tobacco mosaic virus-infected samples. This represents the first demonstration of 2b protein expression by a subgroup I strain of CMV. Subcellular fractionation experiments on CMV-infected tobacco leaf tissue showed that the Fny-CMV 2b protein accumulated within a fraction that sedimented at forces of less than 5000  and that the 2b protein was solubilized only by treatment with urea or SDS. These results suggested that the 2b protein associates either with the nucleus or cytoskeleton of the host cell. Further analysis showed that the 2b protein was enriched in a fraction that sedimented through a 2·2 M sucrose cushion. This fraction was also enriched in histones, suggesting that the CMV 2b protein associates preferentially with the host cell nucleus.


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