The Ns strain of Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) induces hypersensitive response (HR) on Nicotiana tabacum cv. Xanthi-nc and on Nicotiana glutinosa. The genetic determinant of the HR induction was localized earlier to amino acid 461 of the 1a protein. The 3D structure of the 1a protein is still unknown and building a homology model is impossible. Nevertheless, on the basis of secondary structure predictions we have created partial protein models for the region surrounding residue 461 which can account structurally for the effect of aa 461 on elicitor function. Seven different amino acid mutations were designed and introduced to the position 461 of the 1a protein in RNA 1. Three of the mutations (proline, glutamic acid, asparagine) inhibited virus replication. Two of the mutants caused systemic symptom development (lysine and arginine). Two mutants (alanine and serine) resulted in localization of the virus, but strong necrosis similar to the original Ns-CMV strain was not observed. Inoculation of purified Ns-CMV virions at extremely high concentration provoked systemic symptoms.
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