Tomato mosaic virus (ToMV) encodes a movement protein (MP) that is necessary for virus cell-to-cell movement. We have demonstrated previously that KELP, a putative transcriptional coactivator of Arabidopsis thaliana, and its orthologue from Brassica campestris can bind to ToMV MP in vitro. In this study, we examined the effects of the transient over-expression of KELP on ToMV infection and the intracellular localization of MP in Nicotiana benthamiana, an experimental host of the virus. In co-bombardment experiments, the over-expression of KELP inhibited virus cell-to-cell movement. The N-terminal half of KELP (KELPdC), which had been shown to bind to MP, was sufficient for inhibition. Furthermore, the over-expression of KELP and KELPdC, both of which were co-localized with ToMV MP, led to a reduction in the plasmodesmal association of MP. In the absence of MP expression, KELP was localized in the nucleus and the cytoplasm by the localization signal in its N-terminal half. It was also shown that ToMV amplified normally in protoplasts prepared from leaf tissue that expressed KELP transiently. These results indicate that over-expressed KELP interacts with MP in vivo and exerts an inhibitory effect on MP function for virus cell-to-cell movement, but not on virus amplification in individual cells.
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