Design of highly specific cytotoxins by using trans-splicing ribozymes.
We have designed ribozymes based on a self-splicing group I intron that can trans-splice exon sequences into a chosen RNA target to create a functional chimeric mRNA and provide a highly specific trigger for gene expression. We have targeted ribozymes against the coat protein mRNA of a widespread plant pathogen, cucumber mosaic virus. The ribozymes were designed to trans-splice the coding sequence of the diphtheria toxin A chain in frame with the viral initiation codon of the target sequence. Diphtheria toxin A chain catalyzes the ADP ribosylation of elongation factor 2 and can cause the cessation of protein translation. In a Saccharomyces cerevisiae model system, ribozyme expression was shown to specifically inhibit the growth of cells expressing the virus mRNA. A point mutation at the target splice site alleviated this ribozyme-mediated toxicity. Increasing the extent of base pairing between the ribozyme and target dramatically increased specific expression of the cytotoxin and reduced illegitimate toxicity in vivo. Trans-splicing ribozymes may provide a new class of agents for engineering virus resistance and therapeutic cytotoxins. (+info)
Strong host resistance targeted against a viral suppressor of the plant gene silencing defence mechanism.
The 2b protein encoded by cucumber mosaic cucumovirus (Cmv2b) acts as an important virulence determinant by suppressing post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS), a natural plant defence mechanism against viruses. We report here that the tomato aspermy cucumovirus 2b protein (Tav2b), when expressed from the unrelated tobacco mosaic tobamovirus (TMV) RNA genome, activates strong host resistance responses to TMV in tobacco which are typical of the gene-for-gene disease resistance mechanism. Domain swapping between Cmv2b, which does not elicit these responses, and Tav2b, revealed functional domains in Tav2b critical for triggering virus resistance and hypersensitive cell death. Furthermore, substitution of two amino acids from Tav2b by those found at the same positions in Cmv2b, Lys21-->Val and Arg28-->Ser, abolished the ability to induce hypersensitive cell death and virus resistance. However, in Nicotiana benthamiana, a species related to tobacco, Tav2b functions as a virulence determinant and suppresses PTGS. Thus, a viral suppressor of the host gene silencing defence mechanism is the target of another independent host resistance mechanism. Our results provide new insights into the complex molecular strategies employed by viruses and their hosts for defence, counter-defence and counter counter-defence. (+info)
Rearrangements in the 5' nontranslated region and phylogenetic analyses of cucumber mosaic virus RNA 3 indicate radial evolution of three subgroups.
Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) has been divided into two subgroups based on serological data, peptide mapping of the coat protein, nucleic acid hybridization, and nucleotide sequence similarity. Analyses of a number of recently isolated strains suggest a further division of the subgroup I strains. Alignment of the 5' nontranslated regions of RNA 3 for 26 strains of CMV suggests the division of CMV into subgroups IA, IB, and II and suggests that rearrangements, deletions, and insertions in this region may have been the precursors of the subsequent radiation of each subgroup. Phylogeny analyses of CMV using the coat protein open reading frame of 53 strains strongly support the further division of subgroup I into IA and IB. In addition, strains within each subgroup radiate from a single point of origin, indicating that they have evolved from a single common ancestor for each subgroup. (+info)
Host-specific cell-to-cell and long-distance movements of cucumber mosaic virus are facilitated by the movement protein of groundnut rosette virus.
The cucumovirus, cucumber mosaic virus (CMV), requires both the 3a movement protein (MP) and the capsid protein (CP) for cell-to-cell movement. Replacement of the MP of CMV with the MP of the umbravirus, groundnut rosette virus (GRV), which does not encode a CP, resulted in a hybrid virus, CMV(ORF4), which could move cell to cell in Nicotiana tabacum and long distance in N. benthamiana. After replacement of the CMV CP in CMV(ORF4) with the gene encoding the green fluorescent protein (GFP), the hybrid virus, CMV(ORF4.GFP), expressing both the GRV MP and the GFP, could move cell to cell but not systemically in either Nicotiana species. Immunoelectron microscopic analysis of cells infected by the hybrid viruses showed different cellular barriers in the vasculature preventing long-distance movement of CMV(ORF4) in N. tabacum and CMV(ORF4.GFP) in N. benthamiana. Thus the GRV MP, which shows limited sequence similarity to the CMV MP, was able to support CP-independent cell-to-cell movement of the hybrid virus, but CP was still required for long-distance movement and entry of particular vascular cells required functions encoded by different proteins. (+info)
Recombination between genomic RNAs of two cucumoviruses under conditions of minimal selection pressure.
Recombination is considered to play a key role in RNA virus evolution; however, little is known about its occurrence under natural conditions. We inoculated tobacco plants with wild-type strains of two closely related cucumovirus species: cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) and tomato aspermy virus (TAV). RNA from the inoculated leaves of doubly-infected plants was tested for the presence of recombination events in an 0.8-kb central portion of the viral RNA3. Using a sensitive and specific RT-PCR procedure, we amplified recombinant segments of RNA3 in 3 of 82 tobacco plants infected with both viruses. In each plant in which recombinant segments were amplified, several different crossover sites were observed, all of which were located within a short stretch of high sequence similarity. Two plants had both CMV-TAV and TAV-CMV recombinants. In all cases, precise homologous recombination had occurred. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of interspecific recombination between wild-type plant RNA viruses under conditions of minimal selection pressure in favor of the recombinants. (+info)
Resistance of Capsicum annuum 'Avelar' to pepper mottle potyvirus and alleviation of this resistance by co-infection with cucumber mosaic cucumovirus are associated with virus movement.
Capsicum annuum cv. Avelar plants resist systemic infection by the Florida isolate of pepper mottle potyvirus (PepMoV-FL). Immuno-tissue blot analysis for detection of PepMoV-FL infection in selected stem segments revealed that virus moved down the stem in external phloem, and, over time, accumulated to detectable levels throughout stem sections (appearing to accumulate in external and internal phloem) taken from below the inoculated leaf. At 21 days post-inoculation, PepMoV-FL was detected in stem segments one or two internodes above the inoculated leaf; however, no virus was observed in internal phloem in stem segments beyond these internodes. In contrast to these observations, PepMoV-FL was detected in the internal phloem of all internodes of the stem located above the inoculated leaf, with subsequent movement into non-inoculated leaves, in Avelar plants co-infected with PepMoV-FL and cucumber mosaic cucumovirus (CMV-KM). No apparent enhancement of PepMoV-FL accumulation occurred in protoplasts inoculated with PepMoV-FL alone versus a mixed inoculum of PepMoV-FL and CMV-KM. These findings confirm earlier observations that potyvirus movement up the stem of Capsicum species occurs via internal phloem. It is also shown that PepMoV-FL does not accumulate to detectable levels in internal phloem in the stem of Avelar plants, thereby limiting its movement to within the inoculated leaf and lower portions of the stem; however, co-infection of Avelar plants with CMV-KM alleviates this restricted movement, allowing PepMoV-FL to invade young tissues systemically. (+info)
A single-stranded loop in the 5' untranslated region of cucumber mosaic virus RNA 4 contributes to competitive translational activity.
The 5' untranslated region (UTR) of cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) RNA 4 confers a highly competitive translational advantage on a heterologous luciferase open reading frame. Here we investigated whether secondary structure in the 5' UTR contributes to this translational advantage. Stabilization of the 5' UTR RNA secondary structure inhibited competitive translational activity. Alteration of a potential single-stranded loop to a stem by substitution mutations greatly inhibited the competitive translational activity. Tobacco plants infected with wild type virus showed a 2.5-fold higher accumulation of maximal coat protein than did plants infected with a loop-mutant virus. Amplification of viral RNA in these plants could not explain the difference in accumulation of coat protein. Phylogenetic comparison showed that potential single-stranded loops of 12-23 nucleotides in length exist widely in subgroups of CMV. (+info)
Isolation of a putative tobacco host factor interacting with cucumber mosaic virus-encoded 2b protein by yeast two-hybrid screening.
The cucumber mosaic virus (CMV)-encoded 2b protein has been implicated to play a role in long distance movement of the virus through the plant's transport system. It is unknown, however, how it mediates virus movement and whether any intrinsic components of plant cells also participate in this process. To isolate a host factor that interacts with 2b, the yeast two-hybrid system was used. First, it was found that the 2b protein per se could function as a transcriptional activator in yeast. However, its two carboxyl terminal deletion mutants, 2bdelta98 and 2bdelta95, which lacked 12 and 15 amino acids from the carboxyl terminus respectively, showed complete absence of transcriptional activation in yeast. A tobacco cDNA library expressing the GAL4 activation domain fusion proteins was screened using 2bdelta98 as a bait. A clone named 2bip (2b-interacting protein) was isolated whose translation product apparently interacted with 2b. Consistent with this observation, bacterially expressed GST-2bip fusion protein bound tightly to 2bdelta95 and 2bdelta98 polypeptides in vitro, as well as to the unmodified 2b protein. Nucleotide sequencing and database searches revealed that the amino acid sequence deduced from it was similar to a prokaryotic LytB protein and an unknown protein of Arabidopsis. DNA and RNA gel blot analyses showed that 2bip-related sequences were present in the tobacco genome and that transcripts corresponding to 2bip were expressed constitutively in various plant organs and in response to CMV infection. These results suggest 2bip as a novel host factor that is capable of interacting with CMV2b. (+info)