P3N-PIPO But not P3 is the Avirulence Determinant in Melon Carrying the Wmr Resistance Against Watermelon Mosaic Virus, Although They Contain a Common
Published:11 Jun.2024    Source:Journal of Virology
Viruses employ a series of diverse translational strategies to expand their coding capacity, which produces viral proteins with common domains and entangles virus-host interactions. P3N-PIPO, which is a transcriptional slippage product from the P3 cistron, is a potyviral protein dedicated to intercellular movement. Here, we show that P3N-PIPO from watermelon mosaic virus (WMV) triggers cell death when transiently expressed in Cucumis melo accession PI 414723 carrying the Wmr resistance gene. Surprisingly, expression of the P3N domain, shared by both P3N-PIPO and P3, can alone induce cell death, whereas expression of P3 fails to activate cell death in PI 414723.
Confocal microscopy analysis revealed that P3N-PIPO targets plasmodesmata (PD) and P3N associates with PD, while P3 localizes in endoplasmic reticulum in melon cells. We also found that mutations in residues L35, L38, P41, and I43 of the P3N domain individually disrupt the cell death induced by P3N-PIPO, but do not affect the PD localization of P3N-PIPO. Furthermore, WMV mutants with L35A or I43A can systemically infect PI 414723 plants. These key residues guide us to discover some WMV isolates potentially breaking the Wmr resistance. Through searching the NCBI database, we discovered some WMV isolates with variations in these key sites, and one naturally occurring I43V variation enables WMV to systemically infect PI 414723 plants. Taken together, these results demonstrate that P3N-PIPO, but not P3, is the avirulence determinant recognized by Wmr, although the shared N terminal P3N domain can alone trigger cell death.IMPORTANCEThis work reveals a novel viral avirulence (Avr) gene recognized by a resistance (R) gene. This novel viral Avr gene is special because it is a transcriptional slippage product from another virus gene, which means that their encoding proteins share the common N-terminal domain but have distinct C-terminal domains.
Amazingly, we found that it is the common N-terminal domain that determines the Avr-R recognition, but only one of the viral proteins can be recognized by the R protein to induce cell death. Next, we found that these two viral proteins target different subcellular compartments. In addition, we discovered some virus isolates with variations in the common N-terminal domain and one naturally occurring variation that enables the virus to overcome the resistance. These results show how viral proteins with common domains interact with a host resistance protein and provide new evidence for the arms race between plants and viruses.