Plasmodesma (PD) is a channel structure that spans the cell wall and provides symplastic connection between adjacent cells. Various macromolecules are known to be transported through PD in a highly regulated manner, and plant viruses utilize their movement proteins (MPs) to gate the PD to spread cell-to-cell. The mechanism by which MP modifies PD to enable intercelluar traffic remains obscure, due to the lack of knowledge about the host factors that mediate the process. Here, we describe the functional interaction between Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) MP and a plant factor, an ankyrin repeat containing protein (ANK), during the viral cell-to-cell movement. We utilized a reverse genetics approach to gain insight into the possible involvement of ANK in viral movement. To this end, ANK overexpressor and suppressor lines were generated, and the movement of MP was tested. MP movement was facilitated in the ANK-overexpressing plants, and reduced in the ANK-suppressing plants, demonstrating that ANK is a host factor that facilitates MP cell-to-cell movement. Also, the TMV local infection was largely delayed in the ANK-suppressing lines, while enhanced in the ANK-overexpressing lines, showing that ANK is crucially involved in the infection process. Importantly, MP interacted with ANK at PD. Finally, simultaneous expression of MP and ANK markedly decreased the PD levels of callose, β-1,3-glucan, which is known to act as a molecular sphincter for PD. Thus, the MP-ANK interaction results in the downregulation of callose and increased cell-to-cell movement of the viral protein. These findings suggest that ANK represents a host cellular receptor exploited by MP to aid viral movement by gating PD through relaxation of their callose sphincters.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology