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The potyviral silencing suppressor protein VPg mediates degradation of SGS3 via ubiquitination and autophagy pathways.

Cheng, X., and Wang, A.M. (2017). "The potyviral silencing suppressor protein VPg mediates degradation of SGS3 via ubiquitination and autophagy pathways." Journal of Virology, 91(1): e01478-16. https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01478-16.

Abstract

RNA silencing is an innate antiviral immunity response of plants and animals. To counteract this host immune response, viruses have evolved an effective strategy to protect themselves by the expression of viral suppressors of RNA silencing (VSRs). Most potyviruses encode two VSRs, helper component-proteinase (HC-Pro) and viral genome-linked protein (VPg). The molecular biology of the former has been well characterized, whereas how VPg exerts its function in the suppression of RNA silencing is yet to be understood. In this study, we show that infection by Turnip mosaic virus (TuMV) causes reduced levels of suppressor of gene silencing 3 (SGS3), a key component of the RNA silencing pathway that functions in double-stranded RNA synthesis for virus-derived small interfering RNA (vsiRNA) production. We also demonstrate that among 11 TuMV-encoded viral proteins, VPg is the only one that interacts with SGS3. We furthermore present evidence that the expression of VPg alone, independent of viral infection, is sufficient to induce the degradation of SGS3 and its intimate partner RNA-dependent RNA polymerase 6 (RDR6). Moreover, we discover that the VPg-mediated degradation of SGS3 occurs via both the 20S ubiquitin-proteasome and autophagy pathways. Taken together, our data suggest a role for VPg-mediated degradation of SGS3 in suppression of silencing by VPg.

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