Interaction between the tobacco mosaic virus movement protein and host cell pectin methylesterases is required for viral cell-to-cell movement.
Chen MH., Sheng J., Hind G., Handa AK., Citovsky V.
Virus-encoded movement protein (MP) mediates cell-to-cell spread of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) through plant intercellular connections, the plasmodesmata. The molecular pathway by which TMV MP interacts with the host cell is largely unknown. To understand this process better, a cell wall-associated protein that specifically binds the viral MP was purified from tobacco leaf cell walls and identified as pectin methylesterase (PME). In addition to TMV MP, PME is recognized by MPs of turnip vein clearing virus (TVCV) and cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV). The use of amino acid deletion mutants of TMV MP showed that its domain was necessary and sufficient for association with PME. Deletion of the PME-binding region resulted in inactivation of TMV cell-to-cell movement.