The Citrus leaf blotch virus movement protein acts as silencing suppressor
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To counteract plant antiviral defense based on RNA silencing, many viruses express proteins that inhibit this mechanism at different levels. The genome of Citrus leaf blotch virus (CLBV) encodes a 227-kDa protein involved in replication, a 40-kDa movement protein (MP), and a 41-kDa coat protein (CP). To determine if any of these proteins might have RNA silencing suppressor activities, we have used Agrobacterium-mediated transient assays in the green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing Nicotiana benthamiana line 16c. Only CLBV MP was able to suppress intracellular GFP silencing induced by expression of either single- or double-stranded (ds) GFP RNA, but not cell-to-cell or long distance spread of the silencing signal. The MP suppressor activity was weak compared to other characterized viral suppressor proteins. Overall our data indicate that MP acts as a suppressor of local silencing probably by interfering in the silencing pathway downstream of the steps of dsRNA and small RNAs generation.