Cucumber mosaic virus induces specific recovery phenotype, namely cyclic mosaic symptoms on tobacco plants. We provide further evidence that besides the 2b suppressor protein, the coat protein (CP) also has a role in symptom recovery and it is connected to its phosphorylation. We analyzed the impact of the phosphorylated (S148D) and the non-phosphorylated (S148A) state of CP148 Ser on symptom formation, virion stability and the effect of CP and its mutants on 2b-mediated local GFP-silencing. We demonstrated that a single aa change could be responsible for preventing the recovery phenomenon as replacing the phosphorylatable Ser with Ala in the 148aa position abolishing the cyclic phenomenon. CP/S148A mutation equilibrates the accumulation of the virus during the infection both at RNA and protein level in N. tabacum L. cv Xanthi plants. In summary, we determined a regulatory effect of the CMV CP on the self-attenuation mechanism and downregulation of the suppressor effect of the 2b protein.
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