Pathogen Profiles

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Molecular Plant Pathology - Pathogen Profiles


Tobacco mosaic virus, not just a single component virus anymore

Elisabeth Knapp and Dennis J. Lewandowski
Department of Plant Pathology, University of Florida, Citrus Research and
Education Center, Lake Alfred, FL 33850, USA


Taxonomy: Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) is the type species of the Tobamovirus genus and a member of the alphavirus-like supergroup. Historically, many tobamoviruses are incorrectly called strains of TMV, although they can differ considerably in sequence similarities and host range from each other and from TMV.
Physical properties: TMV virions are 300 x 18 nm rods with a central hollow cavity and are composed of 95% capsid protein (CP), and 5% RNA. Each CP subunit interacts with 3-nts in a helical arrangement around the RNA. Virions are stable for decades; infectivity in sap survives heating to 90C.
Host range: The natural host range of TMV is limited; however, a broad range of weed and crop species, mostly Solanaceae that includes tobacco, pepper and tomato can be infected experimentally [Holmes, F.O. (1946) A comparison of the experimental host ranges of tobacco etch and tobacco mosaic viruses. Phytopathology 36, 643-657]. TMV distribution is worldwide. No biological vectors are known.
Useful web site: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ICTVdb/ICTVdB/71010001.htm


Left Electron micrograph of TMV virions stained with uranyl acetate. Courtesy of Dr J.N. Culver, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute.
Right: Typical mosaic symptoms caused by wild-type TMV

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