A predicted stem-loop structure of 25 nucleotides, located in the coat protein (CP) gene and 3′-UTR sequences of Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), was validated previously (Guo et al., 2015). In this study, both disrupted stem-loop and nucleotide deletion mutants of TMV replicated more rapidly in Nicotiana benthamiana protoplasts. The TMV mutant with a complete mirrored stem-loop structure showed similar level of viral RNA accumulation as TMV. Recovering the stem-loop structure also resulted in a similar replication level as TMV. All these mutants induced necrosis in N. benthamiana and assembled into typical rigid rod-shaped virions. TMV mutant without the stem-loop structure induced more local lesions in Chenopodium quinoa. When the putative stem-loop structure in Tomato mosaic virus (ToMV) was disrupted, the mutant also showed an enhanced virus replication. This suggests that the stem-loop structure of TMV is a new cis-acting element with a role in virus replication.
Guo, S., & Wong, S. M. (2018). Disruption of a stem-loop structure located upstream of pseudoknot domain in Tobacco mosaic virus enhanced its infectivity and viral RNA accumulation. Virology, 519, 170–179. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2018.04.009