1887

Abstract

It has been reported previously that a 2b protein-defective mutant of the cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) Pepo strain (Δ2b) induces only mild symptoms in systemically infected tobacco plants. To clarify further the role of the 2b protein as an RNA silencing suppressor in mosaic symptom expression during CMV infection, this study monitored the sequential distribution of Δ2b in the shoot meristem and leaf primordia (LP) of inoculated tobacco. Time-course histochemical observations revealed that Δ2b was distributed in the shoot meristem at 7 days post-inoculation (p.i.), but could not invade shoot apical meristem (SAM) and quickly disappeared from the shoot meristem, whereas wild-type (Pepo) transiently appeared in SAM from 4 to 10 days p.i. In LP, Δ2b signals were detected only at 14 and 21 days p.i., whereas dense Pepo signals were observed in LP from 4 to 18 days p.i. Northern blot analysis showed that small interfering RNA (siRNA) derived from Δ2b RNA accumulated earlier in the shoot meristem and LP than that of Pepo. However, a similar amount of siRNA was detected in both Pepo- and Δ2b-infected plants at late time points. Tissue printing analysis of the inoculated leaves indicated that the areas infected by Pepo increased faster than those infected by Δ2b, whereas accumulation of Δ2b in protoplasts was similar to that of Pepo. These findings suggest that the 2b protein of the CMV Pepo strain determines virulence by facilitating the distribution of CMV in the shoot meristem and LP via prevention of RNA silencing and/or acceleration of cell-to-cell movement.

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2009-12-01
2019-11-18
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