Tracing the lineage of two traits associated with the coat protein of the Tombusviridae : silencing suppression and HR elicitation in nicotiana species
In this paper we have characterized the lineage of two traits associated with the coat proteins (CPs) of the tombusvirids: Silencing suppression and HR elicitation in Nicotiana species. We considered that the tombusvirid CPs might collectively be considered an effector, with the CP of each CP-encoding species comprising a structural variant within the family. Thus, a phylogenetic analysis of the CP could provide insight into the evolution of a pathogen effector. The phylogeny of the CP of tombusvirids indicated that CP representatives of the family could be divided into four clades. In two separate clades the CP triggered a hypersensitive response (HR) in Nicotiana species of section Alatae but did not have silencing suppressor activity. In a third clade the CP had a silencing suppressor activity but did not have the capacity to trigger HR in Nicotiana species. In the fourth clade, the CP did not carry either function. Our analysis illustrates how structural changes that likely occurred in the CP effector of progenitors of the current genera led to either silencing suppressor activity, HR elicitation in select Nicotiana species, or neither trait.
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