Coat Protein Activation of Alfalfa Mosaic Virus Replication Is Concentration Dependent
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CitationGuogas, L. M., S. M. Laforest, and L. Gehrke. 2005. “Coat Protein Activation of Alfalfa Mosaic Virus Replication Is Concentration Dependent.” Journal of Virology 79 (9): 5752–61. https://doi.org/10.1128/jvi.79.9.5752-5761.2005.
AbstractAlfalfa mosaic virus (AMV) and ilarvirus RNAs are infectious only in the presence of the viral coat protein; therefore, an understanding of coat protein's function is important for defining viral replication mechanisms. Based on in vitro replication experiments, the conformational switch model states that AMV coat protein blocks minus-strand RNA synthesis (R. C. Olsthoorn, S. Mertens, F. T. Brederode, and J. F. Bol, EMBO J. 18:4856-4864, 1999), while another report states that coat protein present in an inoculum is required to permit minus-strand synthesis (L. Neeleman and J. F. Bol, Virology 254:324-333, 1999). Here, we report on experiments that address these contrasting results with a goal of defining coat protein's function in the earliest stages of AMV replication. To detect coat-protein-activated AMV RNA replication, we designed and characterized a subgenomic luciferase reporter construct. We demonstrate that activation of viral RNA replication by coat protein is concentration dependent; that is, replication was strongly stimulated at low coat protein concentrations but decreased progressively at higher concentrations. Genomic RNA3 mutations preventing coat protein mRNA translation or disrupting coat protein's RNA binding domain diminished replication. The data indicate that RNA binding and an ongoing supply of coat protein are required to initiate replication on progeny genomic RNA transcripts. The data do not support the conformational switch model's claim that coat protein inhibits the initial stages of viral RNA replication. Replication activation may correlate with low local coat protein concentrations and low coat protein occupancy on the multiple binding sites present in the 3' untranslated regions of the viral RNAs.
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