Transmission of the crinivirus, lettuce infectious yellows virus (LIYV), is determined by a minor coat protein (CPm)-mediated virion retention mechanism located in the foregut of its whitefly vector. To better understand the functions of LIYV CPm, chimeric CPm mutants engineered with different lengths of the LIYV CPm amino acid sequence and that of the crinivirus, lettuce chlorosis virus (LCV), were constructed based on bioinformatics and sequence alignment data. The 485 amino acid-long chimeric CPm of LIYV mutant, CPmP-1, contains 60% (from position 3 to 294) of LCV CPm amino acids. The chimeric CPm of mutants CPmP-2, CPmP-3 and CPmP-4 contains 46 (position 3 to 208), 51 (position 3 to 238) and 41% (position 261 to 442) of LCV CPm amino acids, respectively. All four mutants moved systemically, expressed the chimeric CPm and formed virus particles. However, following acquisition feeding of the virus preparations, only CPmP-1 was retained in the foreguts of a significant number of vectors and transmitted. In immuno-gold labelling transmission electron microscopy (IGL-TEM) analysis, CPmP-1 particles were distinctly labelled by antibodies directed against the LCV but not LIYV CPm. In contrast, CPmP-4 particles were not labelled by antibodies directed against the LCV or LIYV CPm, while CPmP-2 and -3 particles were weakly labelled by anti-LIYV CPm but not anti-LCV CPm antibodies. The unique antibody recognition and binding pattern of CPmP-1 was also displayed in the foreguts of whitefly vectors that fed on CPmP-1 virions. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the chimeric CPm of CPmP-1 is incorporated into functional virions, with the LCV CPm region being potentially exposed on the surface and accessible to anti-LCV CPm antibodies.
- Lettuce chlorosis virus
- Lettuce infectious yellows virus
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