Tobacco Etch Virus (TEV or TBEV) is a plant pathogenic virus that belongs to the virus family Potyviridae and genus Potyvirus. TEV infects tobacco (Nicotiana spp.), various species of Solanaceae, some agricultural important corps (i.e. C. annuum, C. frutescens), tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), and many perennial weed species such as Datura stramonium (jimson weed), Solanum nigrum (nightshade), S. aculeatissimum (soda apple), Linaria canadensis (blue toadflax), Chenopodium album (pigweed), and Physalis spp. (ground cherry). Symptoms seen on plants caused by TEV infection differs from species of host plants, including mottling, vein clearing, and necrotic lines or etching. These symptoms can be seen at the fruit and may cause a stunted plant. TEV has been reported to appear in North and South America, including Canada, USA (including Hawaii), Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela.
Fig. 1 Tobacco Etch Virus under electron microscopy
TBV is a monopartite strand of single-stranded, positive-sense RNA virus. Its genome is surrounded by a capsid that are constructed with a single viral encode structural protein. TBV virion is a filamentous particle with a length of about 730 nm. Researchers have determined the complete nucleotide of TBV RNA genome. The size of assembled TBV genome is about 9.5 knt. TBV genome consists of a 5' untranslated region which is rich in adenosine and uridine, a single large open reading fragment (ORF), and a 3' polyadenylated region. Like other Potyviruses, the ORF of TBV RNA encodes at least 7 different structural and non-structural proteins. The large ORF will be translated into a large polyprotein molecule as a precursor. This large protein precursor consists of 3054 amino acid residues and its molecular weight is 346kDa.The precursor is then disrupted to produce viral proteins, including a TEV protease. The TEV protease is a highly site-specific nuclear inclusion protease and has been developed as a useful tool for cleaving genetically engineered fusion proteins.
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