Validation of microtubule-associated Tobacco mosaic virus RNA movement and involvement of microtubule-aligned particle trafficking

Plant J. 2007 Aug;51(4):589-603. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2007.03163.x. Epub 2007 Jun 20.


Functional studies of Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) infection using virus derivatives expressing functional, dysfunctional, and temperature-sensitive movement protein (MP) mutants indicated that the cell-to-cell transport of TMV RNA is functionally correlated with the association of MP with microtubules. However, the role of microtubules in the movement process during early infection remains unclear, since MP accumulates on microtubules rather late in infection and treatment of plants with microtubule-disrupting agents fails to strongly interfere with cell-to-cell movement of TMV RNA. To further test the role of microtubules in TMV cell-to-cell movement, we investigated TMV strain Ni2519, which is temperature-sensitive for movement. We demonstrate that the temperature-sensitive defect in movement is correlated with temperature-sensitive changes in the localization of MP to microtubules. Furthermore, we show that during early phases of recovery from non-permissive conditions, the MP localizes to microtubule-associated particles. Similar particles are found in cells at the leading front of spreading TMV infection sites. Initially mobile, the particles become immobile when MP starts to accumulate along the length of the particle-associated microtubules. Our observations confirm a role for microtubules in the spread of TMV infection and associate this role with microtubule-associated trafficking of MP-containing particles in cells engaged in the cell-to-cell movement of the TMV genome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Leaves / virology
  • Plant Viral Movement Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Viral Movement Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • RNA Transport
  • RNA, Viral / chemistry
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • RNA, Viral / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Tobacco / genetics
  • Tobacco / metabolism
  • Tobacco / virology
  • Tobacco Mosaic Virus / genetics*
  • Tobacco Mosaic Virus / growth & development


  • Plant Viral Movement Proteins
  • RNA, Viral
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins