Molecular biology of potexviruses: recent advances.
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Recent advances in potexvirus research have produced new models describing virus replication, cell-to-cell movement, encapsidation, R gene-mediated resistance and gene silencing. Interactions between distant RNA elements are a central theme in potexvirus replication. The 5' non-translated region (NTR) regulates genomic and subgenomic RNA synthesis and encapsidation, as well as virus plasmodesmal transport. The 3' NTR regulates both plus- and minus-strand RNA synthesis. How the triple gene-block proteins interact for virus movement is still elusive. As the potato virus X (PVX) TGBp1 protein gates plasmodesmata, regulates virus translation and is a suppressor of RNA silencing, further research is needed to determine how these properties contribute to propelling virus through the plasmodesmata. Specifically, TGBp1 suppressor activity is required for virus movement, but how the silencing machinery relates to plasmodesmata is not known. The TGBp2 and TGBp3 proteins are endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated proteins required for virus movement. TGBp2 associates with ER-derived vesicles that traffic along the actin network. Future research will determine whether the virus-induced vesicles are cytopathic structures regulating events along the ER or are vehicles carrying virus to the plasmodesmata for transfer into neighbouring cells. Efforts to assemble virions in vitro identified a single-tailed particle (STP) comprising RNA, coat protein (CP) and TGBp1. It has been proposed that TGBp1 aids in transport of virions or STP between cells and ensures translation of RNA in the receiving cells. PVX is also a tool for studying Avr-R gene interactions and gene silencing in plants. The PVX CP is the elicitor for the Rx gene. Recent reports of the PVX CP reveal how CP interacts with the Rx gene product.