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Keywords:

  • Cell–cell spread;
  • cytoskeleton;
  • ER;
  • movement protein;
  • plasmodesmata;
  • tobacco mosaic virus

The P30 movement protein (MP) of tobacco mosaic virus is essential for distribution of sites of replication within infected cells and for cell–cell spread of infection. MP is an integral membrane protein and in early and mid-stages of infection causes severe disruption of the cortical endoplasmic reticulum (ER). MP also associates with microtubules, and in late stages is targeted for degradation by the 26S proteosome. During these stages, the ER regains its normal pre-infection configuration. Viral RNA is associated with ER and microtubules in the presence of MP. The MP is phosphorylated and mutation of the phosphorylated amino acid reduced association of MP with the ER, plasmodesmata, and microtubules, and altered the stability of the MP. The nature of the association of MP with vRNA and ER and microtubules, and the role of phosphorylation of MP in each of these functions, if any, remains to be determined.