1887

Abstract

(ZYMV) surface exposed coat protein (CP) N-terminal domain (Nt) is 43 aa long and contains an equal number of positively and negatively charged amino acid residues (CP-Nt net charge=0). A ZYMV-AGII truncation mutant lacking the first 20 aa of its CP-Nt (AGII-CPΔ20; CP-Nt net charge=+2) was found to be systemically non-infectious even though AGII mutants harbouring larger CP-Nt deletions were previously demonstrated to be fully infectious. Nevertheless, AGII-CPΔ20 infectivity was restored by fusion to its CP-Nt two Asp residues or a negatively charged Myc peptide, both predicted to neutralize CP-Nt net positive charge. To evaluate further the significance of CP-Nt net charge for AGII infectivity, a series of CP-Nt net charge mutants was generated and analysed for systemic infectivity of squash plants. AGII-CP harbouring a CP-Nt amino fusion of three Lys residues (CP-Nt net charge=+3) was not systemically infectious. Addition of up to four Asp residues to CP-Nt did not abolish virus infectivity, although certain mutants were genetically unstable and had delayed infectivity. Addition of five negatively charged residues abolished infectivity (AGII-CP; CP-Nt net charge=−5) even though a recombinant CP could assemble into potyviral-like particle in bacteria. Neutralization of CP-Nt net charge by fusing Asp or Lys residues recovered infectivity of AGII-CP and AGII-CP. GFP-tagging of these mutants has demonstrated that both viruses have defective cell-to-cell movement. Together, these findings suggest that maintenance of CP-Nt net charge and not primary sequence is essential for ZYMV infectivity.

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2004-11-01
2020-08-11
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