1887

Abstract

The multifunctional potyviral helper-component protease (HcPro) contains variable regions with some functionally conserved domains, such as the FRNK box. Natural variants occur at the FRNK box, a conserved central domain, known for its role in RNA binding and RNAi suppression activities, although no dominant natural variants for the N residue are known to occur. Here, a mutant at HcPro was developed to investigate its role in natural populations. Using studies, we found an increase in the small RNA (sRNA) binding potential of HcPro without affecting its protein–protein interaction properties, suggesting that the presence of N is critical to maintain threshold levels of sRNAs, but does not interfere in the self-interaction of HcPro. Furthermore, we found that expression of HcPro in affected plant growth. Transient expression of HcPro induced reporter gene expression in 16c GFP transgenic plants more than HcPro did, suggesting that replacement of asparagine in the FRNK box favours RNA silencing suppression. HcPro was found to be distributed in the nucleus and cytoplasm, whereas HcPro was observed only in cytoplasmic inclusion bodies in leaves, when fused to a GFP tag and expressed by agro-infiltration, suggesting mutation favours oligomerization of HcPro. These findings suggest that amino acid N of the conserved FRNK box may regulate RNA silencing mechanisms, and is required for maintenance of the subcellular localization of the protein for its multi-functionality. Hence, the N residue of the FRNK box seems to be indispensable for potyvirus infection during evolution.

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2014-05-01
2020-01-27
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