Plant translation factors and virus resistance.
Plant viruses recruit cellular translation factors not only to translate their viral RNAs but also to regulate their replication and potentiate their local and systemic movement. Because of the virus dependence on cellular translation factors, it is perhaps not surprising that many natural plant recessive resistance genes have been mapped to mutations of translation initiation factors eIF4E and eIF4G or their isoforms, eIFiso4E and eIFiso4G. The partial functional redundancy of these isoforms allows specific mutation or knock-down of one isoform to provide virus resistance without hindering the general health of the plant. New possible targets for antiviral strategies have also been identified following the characterization of other plant translation factors (eIF4A-like helicases, eIF3, eEF1A and eEF1B) that specifically interact with viral RNAs and proteins and regulate various aspects of the infection cycle. Emerging evidence that translation repression operates as an alternative antiviral RNA silencing mechanism is also discussed. Understanding the mechanisms that control the development of natural viral resistance and the emergence of virulent isolates in response to these plant defense responses will provide the basis for the selection of new sources of resistance and for the intelligent design of engineered resistance that is broad-spectrum and durable.
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