Post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS), or RNA silencing, is one of the key mechanisms of antiviral defence used by plants. To counter this defence response, viruses produce suppressor proteins that are able to inhibit the PTGS pathway or to interfere with some of its function. The aim of this study was to evaluate the RNA silencing suppressor (RSS) activity of P0 proteins from selected European isolates of the beet-infecting poleroviruses beet chlorosis virus (BChV) and beet mild yellowing virus (BMYV) using two different experimental systems: (i) agro-infiltration of green fluorescent protein-positive plants and (ii) mechanical inoculation of using a beet necrotic yellow vein virus (BNYVV, genus ) RNA3-based replicon. The results demonstrated that P0 of most BMYV isolates exhibited RSS activity, although at various efficiencies among isolates. Conversely, P0 of BChV isolates displayed no RSS activity in either of the two systems under the experimental conditions used. These results are the first reported evidence that P0 proteins of two closely related beet poleroviruses show strain-specific differences in their effects on RNA silencing.


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