Tobacco Mosaic Virus Infectivity and Replication

  • Peter Palukaitis
  • Milton Zaitlin
Part of the The Viruses book series (VIRS)


Tobacco mosaic was first characterized as an infectious disease in 1886 by Mayer and the virus has been the subject of intensive investigation since the 1930s. Early studies focused on chemistry and structure, and much of our fundamental knowledge of the chemical and physical properties of simple RNA-containing viruses derives from TMV. While the large amounts of easily extracted, easily purified virus available in high yield facilitated these studies, the complex nature of the virus-host system has slowed our understanding of the details of TMV replication (and of all other plant viruses, for that matter); for instance, when a leaf is inoculated with virus, initially only a very small proportion of the cells become infected. These initial centers serve as foci for the subsequent rounds of replication in adjacent cells. Thus, early events in the few initially infected cells must be detected against an overwhelming background of uninfected cells. Further difficulties arise from the relatively slow rate of virus replication when compared with animal or bacterial viruses and, most troublesome, the fact that plant virus infection does not shut down host protein and nucleic acid synthesis. Thus, it is sometimes not easy to distinguish virus-directed proteins and nucleic acids from those of the host. Fortunately, recently developed technologies such as molecular hybridization and Western blotting having solved some of these problems.


Coat Protein Tobacco Mosaic Virus Cucumber Mosaic Virus Subgenomic RNAs Brome Mosaic Virus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Palukaitis
    • 1
  • Milton Zaitlin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant PathologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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