Live cell imaging of interactions between replicase and capsid protein of Brome mosaic virus using Bimolecular Fluorescence Complementation: implications for replication and genome packaging.

PMID 25046269


In Brome mosaic virus, it was hypothesized that a physical interaction between viral replicase and capsid protein (CP) is obligatory to confer genome packaging specificity. Here we tested this hypothesis by employing Bimolecular Fluorescent Complementation (BiFC) as a tool for evaluating protein-protein interactions in living cells. The efficacy of BiFC was validated by a known interaction between replicase protein 1a (p1a) and protein 2a (p2a) at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) site of viral replication. Additionally, co-expression in planta of a bona fide pair of interacting protein partners of p1a and p2a had resulted in the assembly of a functional replicase. Subsequent BiFC assays in conjunction with mCherry labeled ER as a fluorescent cellular marker revealed that CP physically interacts with p2a, but not p1a, and this CP:p2a interaction occurs at the cytoplasmic phase of the ER. The significance of the CP:p2a interaction in BMV replication and genome packaging is discussed.