Effect of various lead (Pb) concentrations on the systemic movement of RNA viruses was examined in tobacco plants. Prior to inoculation, plants were grown hydroponically for 6 days in Hoagland's solution supplemented with five concentrations of lead nitrate [Pb(NO(3))(2)]: 0.0 (control), 10, 15, 50, and 100 μM. Four different RNA viruses with different cell-to-cell movement mechanisms were used. Two weeks after inoculation lower and upper leaves of each treatment were harvested and examined for the presence of viral coat protein. In plants inoculated with Tobacco mosaic virus, Potato virus X, and Tobacco etch virus, TEM images and western blot assays confirmed the presence of viral coat proteins in the upper leaves of all lead treatments. However, in plants inoculated with Turnip vein-clearing virus (TVCV), no signs of viral particles were detected in the upper leaves of plants treated with 10 μM or 15 μM lead nitrate. In contrast, plants treated with high concentrations of lead nitrate (50 μM or 100 μM) showed viral particles in their upper leaves. In plants treated with 10 μM or 15 μM lead nitrate, callose accumulation was the same as in control plants. This suggests that non-toxic concentrations of lead nitrate may trigger the production of putative cellular factors in addition to callose that interfere with the TVCV systemic movement. In contrast, plants treated with 100 μM lead nitrate showed less callose as compared to control plants, facilitating the systemic movement of TVCV.