DNA β satellites are circular single-stranded molecules associated with some monopartite begomoviruses in the family Geminiviridae. They co-infect with their helper viruses to induce severe disease in economically important crops. The βC1 protein encoded by DNA β is a pathogenicity determinant and has been reported to suppress post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS). The βC1 proteins from various DNA β molecules show low levels of amino acid sequence conservation. We show here that the βC1 from DNA β associated with Cotton leaf curl Multan virus (CLCuMV) is a suppressor of systemic PTGS. When this DNA β satellite co-inoculated with a heterologous helper virus, Tomato leaf curl virus (ToLCV), reduced the level of ToLCV siRNA and this was associated with a higher level of virus accumulation in infected tobacco plants. This may be a mechanism by which βC1 protects a heterologous virus from host gene silencing.
- Gene silencing
- Satellite DNA