To investigate the process of tubule formation for the cauliflower mosaic virus movement protein (CaMV MP), the green fluorescent protein (GFP) was fused to the MP to provide a vital marker for MP location after expression in insect cells. In contrast to the long tubular structures seen previously following baculovirus-based expression of the wild-type MP, the fusion protein produced only aggregates of fluorescing material in the cytoplasm. However, by co-expressing wild-type MP and GFP–MP, or by engineering their co-accumulation by introducing a foot-and-mouth disease virus 2A cleavage sequence between GFP and MP, long GFP-fluorescing tubules were formed. The experiments suggest that the presence of GFP at the N or C terminus of the tubule-forming domain of the CaMV MP places steric constraints upon the aggregation of the MP into a tubule but that this can be overcome by providing wild-type protein for inclusion in the aggregate.


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