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Free Content Viral coat protein is targeted to, but does not gate, plasmodesmata during cell-to-cell movement of potato virus X

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The coat protein (CP) of potato virus X was localized immunocytochemically in infected leaves of susceptible Nicotiana species and shown to be targeted to the central cavity of plasmodesmata in virus-infected cells. A viral deletion mutant, in which the CP gene was replaced with the gene for the green fluorescent protein (GFP), was restricted to single, inoculated cells. However, movement of the mutant virus was rescued on transgenic plants constitutively expressing the CP gene, and the CP was again targeted to plasmodesmata. The CP was not localized to plasmodesmata in uninfected transgenic plants and, in contrast to the plasmodesmata of PVX-infected cells, the plasmodesmata of the transgenic plants did not allow the passage of 10 kDa fluorescent dextrans. We propose that the CP is not involved in plasmodesmal gating per se, but is necessary for transport of the viral RNA to, and possibly through, plasmodesmata.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1996

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