The Cucumber leaf spot virus p25 auxiliary replicase protein binds and modifies the endoplasmic reticulum via N-terminal transmembrane domains.

PMID 25129437


Cucumber leaf spot virus (CLSV) is a member of the Aureusvirus genus, family Tombusviridae. The auxiliary replicase of Tombusvirids has been found to localize to endoplasmic reticulum (ER), peroxisomes or mitochondria; however, localization of the auxiliary replicase of aureusviruses has not been determined. We have found that the auxiliary replicase of CLSV (p25) fused to GFP colocalizes with ER and that three predicted transmembrane domains (TMDs) at the N-terminus of p25 are sufficient for targeting, although the second and third TMDs play the most prominent roles. Confocal analysis of CLSV infected 16C plants shows that the ER becomes modified including the formation of punctae at connections between ER tubules and in association with the nucleus. Ultrastructural analysis shows that the cytoplasm contains numerous vesicles which are also found between the perinuclear ER and nuclear membrane. It is proposed that these vesicles correspond to modified ER used as sites for CLSV replication.