The six open reading frames of Tomato leaf curl virus (TLCV) were expressed in host Nicotiana species using a Tobacco mosaic virus vector. Each of the genes, except that encoding the viral coat protein, produced a phenotypic effect when expressed in planta, but the corresponding untranslatable mutant genes were asymptomatic. The C1 (Rep) gene invoked a hypersensitive response in Nicotiana clevelandii that restricted the viral construct to sites of infection. Expression of the C2 gene in N. benthamiana produced necrotic lesions on inoculated leaves as well as severe veinal necrosis on systemically infected leaves. This gene was also able to suppress post-transcriptional gene silencing in N. tabacum. C4 induced viruslike symptoms in host plants tested, providing further evidence for the involvement of this gene in symptom expression. Expression of the V1 and C3 genes caused severe stunting of N. benthamiana plants, indicating they may also have a role in symptom development. These results reveal that a complex set of interactions between the TLCV gene products and host factors occurs in planta, and these are discussed in relation to our current understanding of TLCV gene function.
- Gene expression
- Phenotypic effects
- Suppressor of post-transcriptional gene silencing