Non-toxic concentrations of cadmium inhibit systemic movement of turnip vein clearing virus by a salicylic acid-independent mechanism

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Systemic movement of plant viruses is a central event in viral infection. To better understand this process, the heavy metal cadmium was used to inhibit systemic spread of turnip vein clearing virus (TVCV), a tobamovirus, in tobacco plants. Study of the mechanism by which cadmium exerts this inhibitory effect may provide insights into the essential steps of the TVCV systemic movement pathway. Our results demonstrated that cadmium treatment did not affect TVCV transport from the inoculated non-vascular tissue into the plant vasculature but blocked viral exit into uninoculated non-vascular tissues. Thus, TVCV virions may enter and exit the host plant vascular system by two different mechanisms. We also showed that cadmium-treated plants still supported systemic spread of an unrelated tobacco etch virus (TEV), suggesting multiple pathways for systemic infection. Finally, cadmium-induced arrest in TVCV systemic infection was shown to occur by a salicylic acid-independent mechanism.

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