Mol Plant Microbe Interact 2006 Aug;19(8):874-83
University of Rostock, Biology Institute, Albert Einstein Str. 3, 18059 Rostock, Germany.
The Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) encoded NSm movement protein facilitates cell-to-cell spread of the viral genome through structurally modified plasmodesmata. NSm has been utilized as bait in yeast two-hybrid interaction trap screenings. As a result, a protein of unknown function, called At-4/1, was isolated from an Arabidopsis thaliana GAL4 activation domain-tagged cDNA library. Using polyclonal antibodies against bacterially expressed At-4/1, Western blot analysis of protein extracts isolated from different plant species as well as genome database screenings showed that homologues of At-4/1 seemed to be encoded by many vascular plants. For subcellular localization studies, At-4/1 was fused to green fluorescent protein, and corresponding expression vectors were used in particle bombardment and agroinfiltration assays. Confocal laser scannings revealed that At-4/1 assembled in punctate spots at the cell periphery. The protein accumulated intracellularly in a polarized fashion, appearing in only one-half of a bombarded epidermal cell, and, moreover, moved from cell to cell, forming twin-structured bodies seemingly located at both orifices of the plasmodesmatal pore. In coexpression studies, At-4/1 colocalized with a plant virus movement protein TGBp3 known to reside in endoplasmic reticulum-derived membrane structures located in close vicinity to plasmodesmata. Thus, At-4/1 belongs to a new family of plant proteins capable of directed intra- and intercellular trafficking.