A single point mutation on the cucumber mosaic virus surface induces an unexpected and strong interaction with the F1 complex of the ATP synthase in Nicotiana clevelandii plants

Ákos Gellért, Tímea Pósa, Attila Fábián, László Szabó, Károly Bóka, Barbara Forró, Katalin Salánki, László Drahos, Eszter Tóth, Angéla Juhász, Ervin Balázs

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A previous study showed that a single amino acid difference in the cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) capsid protein (CP) elicits unusual symptoms. The wild-type strain (CMV-R) induces green mosaic symptoms and malformation while the mutant strain (CMV-R3E79R) causes chlorotic lesions on inoculated leaves and strong stunting with necrosis on systemic leaves. Virion preparations of CMV-R and CMV-R3E79R were partially purified from Nicotiana clevelandii A. Gray and analysed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Their separated protein patterns showed remarkable differences at the 50–75 kDa range, both in numbers and intensity of spots, with more protein spots for the mutant CMV. Mass spectrometry analysis demonstrated that the virion preparations contained host proteins identified as ATP synthase alpha and beta subunits as well as small and large Rubisco subunits, respectively. Virus overlay protein binding assay (VOPBA), immunogold electron microscopy and modified ELISA experiments were used to prove the direct interaction between the virus particle and the N. clevelandii ATP synthase F1 motor complex. Protein-protein docking study revealed that the electrostatic change in the mutant CMV can introduce stronger interactions with ATP synthase F1 complex. Based on our findings we suggest that the mutation present in the CP can have a direct effect on the long–distance movement and systemic symptoms. In molecular view the mutant CMV virion can lethally block the rotation of the ATP synthase F1 motor complex which may lead to cell apoptosis, and finally to plant death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-55
Number of pages9
JournalVirus Research
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2 2018



  • ATP synthase
  • Capsid protein
  • Cucumber mosaic virus
  • Host-virus interaction
  • Nicotiana clevelandii

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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