Impaired plant growth and development caused by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Tat
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Previous attempts to express the human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) Tat (trans-activator of transcription) protein in plants resulted in a number of physiological abnormalities, such as stunted growth and absence of seed formation, that could not be explained. In the study reported here, we expressed Tat in tomato and observed phenotypic abnormalities, including stunted growth, absence of root formation, chlorosis, and plant death, as a result of reduced cytokinin levels. These reduced levels were ascribed to a differentially expressed CKO35 in Tat-bombarded tomato. Of the two CKO isoforms that are naturally expressed in tomato, CKO43 and CKO37, only the expression of CKO37 was affected by Tat. Our analysis of the Tat confirmed that the Arg-rich and RGD motifs of Tat have functional relevance in tomato and that independent mutations at these motifs caused inhibition of the differentially expressed CKO isoform and the extracellular secretion of the Tat protein, respectively, in our Tat-bombarded tomato samples.
KeywordsCytokinin Cytokinin oxidase HIV-1 Tat Tomato Transient expression
This work was supported by the Ministries of Health, Labor and Welfare and Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
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