Researchers from Valencia Find a New Virus Transport Model for Plants

Mètode speaks to the two team leaders of the project

The Membrane Proteins Group (UV) and the Plant Molecular Virology Research Group (Institute for Plant Molecular and Cell Biology, CSIC-UPV), two Valencian research teams, have created a new model for virus transport in plants. The discovery, published in Journal of Virology, can help us understand how the transport mechanism of viruses works, allowing us to design new strategies to stop them.

The scientists, led by Ismael Mingarro (UV) and Jesús A. Sánchez-Navarro (IBMCP), investigated how plant viruses could move from one cell to another after infection through the study of a movement protein in tobacco mosaic virus. This protein is the key for infection, because the virus would not be able to move from the first cell to the rest without it.

The model they suggest after years of collaboration states that viruses use plasmodesmata, the connections between vegetal cells, to move to new cells. The results challenge the previous model, published in 2000 and widely accepted, while they are a very powerful tool for the design of control strategies and to know how to block plant viruses.

Mètode spoke to Ismael Mingarro and Jesús A. Sánchez-Navarro, the team leaders of the research project, to hear first-hand about their discovery and its importance.

[English subtitles are available for the video.]