The virulence factor of Melon necrotic spot virus (MNSV), a virus that induces systemic necrotic spot disease on melon plants, was investigated. When the replication protein p29 was expressed in N. benthamiana using a Cucumber mosaic virus vector, necrotic spots appeared on the leaf tissue. Transmission electron microscopy revealed abnormal mitochondrial aggregation in these tissues. Fractionation of tissues expressing p29 and confocal imaging using GFP-tagged p29 revealed that p29 associated with the mitochondrial membrane as an integral membrane protein. Expression analysis of p29 deletion fragments and prediction of hydrophobic transmembrane domains (TMDs) in p29 showed that deletion of the second putative TMD from p29 led to deficiencies in both the mitochondrial localization and virulence of p29. Taken together, these results indicated that MNSV p29 interacts with the mitochondrial membrane and that p29 may be a virulence factor causing the observed necrosis. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Mochizuki, T., Hirai, K., Kanda, A., Ohnishi, J., Ohki, T., & Tsuda, S. (2009). Induction of necrosis via mitochondrial targeting of Melon necrotic spot virus replication protein p29 by its second transmembrane domain. Virology, 390(2), 239–249. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.virol.2009.05.012