Plant virus-encoded movement protein(s) (MP), and for many viruses the coat protein (CP), is required to mediate viral spread between plant cells via plasmodesmata (PD). Most probably, the genomic RNA of potexviruses moves through PD as assembled virions and/or as ribonucleoprotein complexes containing the CP and 25-kDa MP. Here we report that encapsidated potato virus X (PVX) virion RNA, which is nontranslatable in a cell-free protein synthesizing system, can be converted into a fully translatable form after interaction of intact PVX particles with the PVX 25-kDa MP. The 25-kDa MP molecules bind selectively to only one extremity of the viral particle (that presumably contains the 5' end of the genomic RNA). The process of complex formation is ATP-independent; i.e., the ATPase activity of the 25-kDa MP is not involved in the binding of the MP to PVX virion.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.