The nonstructural 3a protein of the positive-strand RNA bromovinuses is required for infection spread in plants and is acrucial determinant of host specificity in systemic infection. To determine the paths of wild-type (wt) bromovirus infection spread, the step at which 3a mutants are arrested, and the nature of the host specificity associated with the 3a gene, we used in situ hybridization to examine infection spread by cowpea chlorotic mottle bromovirus (CCMV) and its derivatives at the level of individual cells in cowpea leaf epidermis. From 1 to 3 days post inoculation (dpi), wt CCMV spread from initially infected cells to adjacent cells, creating expanding infection foci whose radii grew by one additional epidermal cell diameter every 5 hr. By 3 to 4 dpi, vascular elements contacting such foci acted as conduits for further infection spread. By contrast, a 3a frameshift derivative multiplied in initially infected epidermal cells but failed to move into neighboring cells even by 4 dpi, showing that the 3a gene is essential for cell-to-cell spread. Most interestingly, a CCMV derivative with the 3a gene replaced by that of a bromovirus not adapted to cowpea, brome mosaic virus (BMV), initially spread from cell to cell in cowpea plants, but stopped spreading between 1 and 2 dpi, when most infection foci encompassed 40-80 epidermal cells. Thus, the host-specificity restriction imposed by BMV 3a protein did not result from an inability to direct the spread of infection out of initially infected cowpea cells, but from a much later block. The apparent absence of any preexisting anatomical boundary at the limit of infection spread and localized tissue changes at the infection foci suggested that induced host responses might have contributed to this block. © 1995 Academic Press, Inc.
Mise, K., & Ahlquist, P. (1995). Host-specificity restriction by bromovirus cell-to-cell movement protein occurs after initial cell-to-cell spread of infection in nonhost plants. Virology, 206(1), 276–286. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0042-6822(95)80043-3