Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) encodes a 30-kDa movement protein (MP) which enables viral movement from cell to cell. It is, however, unclear whether the 126- and 183-kDa replicase proteins are involved in the cell-to-cell movement of TMV. In the course of our studies into TMV-R, a strain with a host range different from that of TMV-U1, we have obtained an interesting chimeric virus, UR-hel. The amino acid sequence differences between UR-hel and TMV-U1 are located only in the helicase-like domain of the replicase. Interestingly, UR-hel has a defect in its cell-to-cell movement. The replication of UR-hel showed a level of replication of the genome, synthesis, and accumulation of MP similar to that observed in TMV-U1-inoculated protoplasts. Such observations support the hypothesis that the replicase coding region may in some fashion be involved in cell-to-cell movement of TMV
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