Cucumber mosaic virus coat protein modulates the accumulation of 2b protein and antiviral silencing that causes symptom recovery <i>in planta</i>
by Xiao-Peng Zhang, De-Shui Liu, Teng Yan, Xiao-Dong Fang, Kai Dong, Jin Xu, Ying Wang, Jia-Lin Yu, Xian-Bing WangShoot apical meristems (SAM) are resistant to most plant viruses due to RNA silencing, which is restrained by viral suppressors of RNA silencing (VSRs) to facilitate transient viral invasion of the SAM. In many cases chronic symptoms and long-term virus recovery occur, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, we found that wild-type Cucumber mosaic virus (CMVWT) invaded the SAM transiently, but was subsequently eliminated from the meristems. Unexpectedly, a CMV mutant, designated CMVRA that harbors an alanine substitution in the N-terminal arginine-rich region of the coat protein (CP) persistently invaded the SAM and resulted in visible reductions in apical dominance. Notably, the CMVWT virus elicited more potent antiviral silencing than CMVRA in newly emerging leaves of infected plants. However, both viruses caused severe symptoms with minimal antiviral silencing effects in the Arabidopsis mutants lacking host RNA-DEPENDENT RNA POLYMERASE 6 (RDR6) or SUPPRESSOR OF GENE SILENCING 3 (SGS3), indicating that CMVWT induced host RDR6/SGS3-dependent antiviral silencing. We also showed that reduced accumulation of the 2b protein is elicited in the CMVWT infection and consequently rescues potent antiviral RNA silencing. Indeed, co-infiltration assays showed that the suppression of posttranscriptional gene silencing mediated by 2b is more severely compromised by co-expression of CPWT than by CPRA. We further demonstrated that CPWT had high RNA binding activity leading to translation inhibition in wheat germ systems, and CPWT was associated with SGS3 into punctate granules in vivo. Thus, we propose that the RNAs bound and protected by CPWT possibly serve as templates of RDR6/SGS3 complexes for siRNA amplification. Together, these findings suggest that the CMV CP acts as a central hub that modulates antiviral silencing and VSRs activity, and mediates viral self-attenuation and long-term symptom recovery.
Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article
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