Control of Nuclear and Nucleolar Localization of Nuclear Inclusion Protein a of Picorna-Like Potato virus A in Nicotiana Species[W]


American Society of Plant Biologists


The multifunctional nuclear inclusion protein a (NIa) of potyviruses (genus Potyvirus; Potyviridae) accumulates in the nucleus of virus-infected cells for unknown reasons. In this study, two regions in the viral genome-linked protein (VPg) domain of NIa in Potato virus A (PVA) were found to constitute nuclear and nucleolar localization signals (NLS) in plant cells (Nicotiana spp). Amino acid substitutions in both NLS I (residues 4 to 9) and NLS II (residues 41 to 50) prevented nuclear localization, whereas mutations in either single NLS did not. Mutations in either NLS, however, prevented nucleolar localization and prevented or diminished virus replication in protoplasts, accumulation in infected plant tissues, and/or systemic movement in plants. One NLS mutant was partially complemented by the wild-type VPg expressed in transgenic plants. Furthermore, NLS I controlled NIa accumulation in Cajal bodies. The VPg domain interacted with fibrillarin, a nucleolar protein, and depletion of fibrillarin reduced PVA accumulation. Overexpression of VPg in leaf tissues interfered with cosuppression of gene expression (i.e., RNA silencing), whereas NLS I and NLS II mutants, which exhibited reduced nuclear and nucleolar localization, showed no such activity. These results demonstrate that some of the most essential viral functions required for completion of the infection cycle are tightly linked to regulation of the NIa nuclear and nucleolar localization.

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