Research Article
Tobacco Mosaic Virus Replicase-Auxin/Indole Acetic Acid Protein Interactions: Reprogramming the Auxin Response Pathway To Enhance Virus Infection

Meenu S. Padmanabhan, Sabrina R. Kramer, Xiao Wang and James N. Culver

Journal of Virology, 2008, 82(5), 2477-2485. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.01865-07


The replicase protein of Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) disrupts the localization and stability of interacting auxin/indole acetic acid (Aux/IAA) proteins in Arabidopsis, altering auxin-mediated gene regulation and promoting disease development (M. S. Padmanabhan, S. P. Goregaoker, S. Golem, H. Shiferaw, and J. N. Culver, J. Virol. 79:2549-2558, 2005). In this study, a similar replicase-Aux/IAA interaction affecting disease development was identified in tomato. The ability of the TMV replicase to interact with Aux/IAA proteins from diverse hosts suggests that these interactions contribute to the infection process. To examine the role of this interaction in virus pathogenicity, the replication and spread of a TMV mutant with a reduced ability to interact with specific Aux/IAA proteins were examined. Within young (4- to 6-week-old) leaf tissue, there were no significant differences in the abilities of Aux/IAA-interacting or -noninteracting viruses to replicate and spread. In contrast, in mature (10- to 12-week-old) leaf tissue, the inability to interact with specific Aux/IAA proteins correlated with a significant reduction in virus accumulation. Correspondingly, interacting Aux/IAA levels are significantly higher in older tissue and the overaccumulation of a degradation-resistant Aux/IAA protein reduced virus accumulation in young leaf tissue. Combined, these findings suggest that TMV replicase-Aux/IAA interactions selectively enhance virus pathogenicity in tissues where Aux/IAA proteins accumulate. We speculate that the virus disrupts Aux/IAA functions as a means to reprogram the cellular environment of older cells to one that is more compatible for virus replication and spread.

ASCI-ID: 205-211

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