Enhancer-like properties of an RNA element that modulates Tombusvirus RNA accumulation. (1/222)

Prototypical defective interfering (DI) RNAs of the plus-strand RNA virus tomato bushy stunt virus contain four noncontiguous segments (regions I-IV) derived from the viral genome. Region I corresponds to 5'-noncoding sequence, regions II and III are derived from internal positions, and region IV represents a 3'-terminal segment. We analyzed the internally located region III in a prototypical DI RNA to understand better its role in DI RNA accumulation. Our results indicate that (1) region III is not essential for DI RNA accumulation, but molecules that lack it accumulate at significantly reduced levels ( approximately 10-fold lower), (2) region III is able to function at different positions and in opposite orientations, (3) a single copy of region III is favored over multiple copies, (4) the stimulatory effect observed on DI RNA accumulation is not due to region III-mediated RNA stabilization, (5) DI RNAs lacking region III permit the efficient accumulation of head-to-tail dimers and are less effective at suppressing helper RNA accumulation, and (6) negative-strand accumulation is also significantly depressed for DI RNAs lacking region III. Collectively, these results support a role for region III as an enhancer-like element that facilitates DI RNA replication. A scanning-type mutagenesis strategy was used to define portions of region III important for its stimulatory effect on DI RNA accumulation. Interestingly, the results revealed several differences in the requirements for activity when region III was in the forward versus the reverse orientation. In the context of the viral genome, region III was found to be essential for biological activity. This latter finding defines a critical role for this element in the reproductive cycle of the virus.  (+info)

Subgenomic mRNA regulation by a distal RNA element in a (+)-strand RNA virus. (2/222)

Subgenomic (sg) mRNAs are synthesized by (+)-strand RNA viruses to allow for efficient translation of products encoded 3' in their genomes. This strategy also provides a means for regulating the expression of such products via modulation of sg mRNA accumulation. We have studied the mechanism by which sg mRNAs levels are controlled in tomato bushy stunt virus, a small (+)-strand RNA virus which synthesizes two sg mRNAs during infections. Neither the viral capsid nor movement proteins were found to play any significant role in modulating the accumulation levels of either sg mRNA. Deletion analysis did, however, identify a 12-nt-long RNA sequence located approximately 1,000 nt upstream from the site of initiation of sg mRNA2 synthesis that was required specifically for accumulation of sg mRNA2. Further analysis revealed a potential base-pairing interaction between this sequence and a sequence located just 5' to the site of initiation for sg mRNA2 synthesis. Mutant genomes in which this interaction was either disrupted or maintained were analyzed and the results indicated a positive correlation between the predicted stability of the base-pairing interaction and the efficiency of sg mRNA2 accumulation. The functional significance of the long-distance interaction was further supported by phylogenetic sequence analysis which revealed conservation of base-pairing interactions of similar stability and relative position in the genomes of different tombusviruses. It is proposed that the upstream sequence represents a cis-acting RNA element which facilitates sg mRNA accumulation by promoting efficient synthesis of sg mRNA2 via a long-distance RNA-RNA interaction.  (+info)

Broad-spectrum protection against tombusviruses elicited by defective interfering RNAs in transgenic plants. (3/222)

We have designed a DNA cassette to transcribe defective interfering (DI) RNAs of tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) and have investigated their potential to protect transgenic Nicotiana benthamiana plants from tombusvirus infections. To produce RNAs with authentic 5' and 3' termini identical to those of the native B10 DI RNA, the DI RNA sequences were flanked by ribozymes (RzDI). When RzDI RNAs transcribed in vitro were mixed with parental TBSV transcripts and inoculated into protoplasts or plants, they became amplified, reduced the accumulation of the parental RNA, and mediated attenuation of the lethal syndrome characteristic of TBSV infections. Analysis of F1 and F2 RzDI transformants indicated that uninfected plants expressed the DI RNAs in low abundance, but these RNAs were amplified to very high levels during TBSV infection. By two weeks postinoculation with TBSV, all untransformed N. benthamiana plants and transformed negative controls died. Although infection of transgenic RzDI plants initially induced moderate to severe symptoms, these plants subsequently recovered, flowered, and set seed. Plants from the same transgenic lines also exhibited broad-spectrum protection against related tombusviruses but remained susceptible to a distantly related tombus-like virus and to unrelated viruses.  (+info)

Rapid delivery of foreign genes into plants by direct rub-inoculation with intact plasmid DNA of a tomato bushy stunt virus gene vector. (4/222)

Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) cDNA, positioned between a modified cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter and the hepatitis delta virus antigenomic ribozyme with a downstream nopaline synthase gene polyadenylation signal, established infections upon rub-inoculation of plants with intact plasmids. Application of this methodology produced a TBSV DNA-based gene vector which yielded readily detectable levels of localized foreign gene expression in inoculated leaves. This is the first demonstration of an infectious DNA from a member of the Tombusviridae which permits rapid TBSV-mediated foreign-gene expression upon direct rub-inoculation of miniprep DNA onto a variety of plant species.  (+info)

Interactions between tombusviruses and satellite RNAs of tomato bushy stunt virus: a defect in sat RNA B1 replication maps to ORF1 of a helper virus. (5/222)

The biological properties of two recently described satellite RNAs of tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) were analyzed in natural and experimental hosts. Full-length cDNA clones were constructed for sat RNAs B1(822 nt) and B10 (612 nt) and used in inoculations with satellite-free transcripts of different tombusviruses. In all virus-host combinations tested, TBSV sat RNA B10 drastically reduced the accumulation of viral genomic RNA and attenuated symptoms. In contrast, sat RNA B1 caused a less marked reduction of viral RNA level and did not have any effect on symptoms. Experiments with Nicotiana benthamiana protoplasts showed that the differential effects of sat RNAs B1 and B10 on TBSV titer were related to differential abilities to interfere with virus replication. Three tombusviruses tested were able to maintain both sat RNAs in N. benthamiana plants, although carnation Italian ringspot virus (CIRV) was a poor helper for sat RNA B1. Using chimeric viruses, a strong determinant for low sat RNA B1 accumulation was mapped to the 5'-terminal part of the genome of CIRV. The poor helper activity of CIRV was shown to be due to low sat RNA B1 replication. A single-nucleotide mutation in the start codon of CIRV ORF1 restored the ability to replicate sat RNA B1 to high levels. This mutant encodes an ORF1 that is 22 amino acids shorter at the N-terminus than the wild-type virus.  (+info)

A primary determinant of cap-independent translation is located in the 3'-proximal region of the tomato bushy stunt virus genome. (6/222)

Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) is a positive-strand RNA virus and is the prototype member of the genus Tombusvirus. The genomes of members of this genus are not polyadenylated, and prevailing evidence supports the absence of a 5' cap structure. Previously, a 167-nucleotide-long segment (region 3.5) located near the 3' terminus of the TBSV genome was implicated as a determinant of translational efficiency (S.K. Oster, B. Wu and K. A. White, J. Virol. 72:5845-5851, 1998). In the present report, we provide evidence that a 3'-proximal segment of the genome, which includes region 3.5, is involved in facilitating cap-independent translation. Our results indicate that (i) a 5' cap structure can substitute functionally for the absence of region 3.5 in viral and chimeric reporter mRNAs in vivo; (ii) deletion of region 3.5 from viral and chimeric mRNAs has no appreciable effect on message stability; (iii) region 3.5 represents part of a larger 3' proximal element, designated as the 3' cap-independent translational enhancer (3'CITE), that is required for proficient cap-independent translation; (iv) the 3'CITE also facilitates cap-dependent translation; (v) none of the major viral proteins are required for 3'CITE activity; and (vi) no significant 3'CITE-dependent stimulation of translation was observed when mRNAs were tested in vitro in wheat germ extract under various assay conditions. This latter property distinguishes the 3'CITE from other characterized plant viral 3'-proximal cap-independent translational enhancers. Additionally, because the 3'CITE overlaps with cis-acting replication signals, it could potentially participate in regulating the initiation of genome replication.  (+info)

Suppression of gene silencing: a general strategy used by diverse DNA and RNA viruses of plants. (7/222)

In transgenic and nontransgenic plants, viruses are both initiators and targets of a defense mechanism that is similar to posttranscriptional gene silencing (PTGS). Recently, it was found that potyviruses and cucumoviruses encode pathogenicity determinants that suppress this defense mechanism. Here, we test diverse virus types for the ability to suppress PTGS. Nicotiana benthamiana exhibiting PTGS of a green fluorescent protein transgene were infected with a range of unrelated viruses and various potato virus X vectors producing viral pathogenicity factors. Upon infection, suppression of PTGS was assessed in planta through reactivation of green fluorescence and confirmed by molecular analysis. These experiments led to the identification of three suppressors of PTGS and showed that suppression of PTGS is widely used as a counter-defense strategy by DNA and RNA viruses. However, the spatial pattern and degree of suppression varied extensively between viruses. At one extreme, there are viruses that suppress in all tissues of all infected leaves, whereas others are able to suppress only in the veins of new emerging leaves. This variation existed even between closely related members of the potexvirus group. Collectively, these results suggest that virus-encoded suppressors of gene silencing have distinct modes of action, are targeted against distinct components of the host gene-silencing machinery, and that there is dynamic evolution of the host and viral components associated with the gene-silencing mechanism.  (+info)

Genetic dissection of tomato bushy stunt virus p19-protein-mediated host-dependent symptom induction and systemic invasion. (8/222)

The plus-sense single-stranded RNA of tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) encodes a 19-kDa protein, which is translated from a 3' proximal open reading frame (p19) that is entirely nested within the cell-to-cell movement gene (p22). Expression of the cytosolic p19-protein induces either a systemic lethal collapse in Nicotiana benthamiana and N. clevelandii, or necrotic local lesions on resistant N. tabacum. In spinach, the p19-protein is required at high abundance for efficient systemic invasion. This study aimed to determine whether these seemingly different host-dependent biological activities are governed by the same or separate regions on the 172 amino acid p19-protein. For this purpose, codons for charged amino acids predicted to be exposed on the surface of the polypeptide and presumably available for host-specific interactions, were targeted for mutagenesis. A total of 12 mutants were generated, which had no deficiencies in replication or cell-to-cell movement, and substitution of amino acids at the extreme N-terminal end or within the carboxyl 70 amino acids failed to cause a noticeable biological effect on plants. However, mutations dispersed between positions 43 and 85 on the N-terminal half prevented the onset of a systemic lethal necrosis on N. benthamiana and N. clevelandii. With one exception, the same mutants elicited mostly chlorotic, rather than necrotic, local lesions on N. tabacum. Mutations in the central region, which substituted Arg with Gly at positions 72 or 75-78, impaired the ability of TBSV to systemically invade spinach plants. However, substitution with Ala instead of Gly at position 72 had minimal effects on systemic spread in spinach, suggesting the possible influence of protein structure effects. The implications are that regions on the N-terminal portion of the p19-protein mediate interactions in a host-dependent manner and that a central region is required for all activities either by a direct effect of the amino acids or through maintenance of structural integrity.  (+info)