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Multifunctional roles of geminivirus encoded replication initiator protein

Ruhel, Rajrani, Chakraborty, Supriya
Virusdisease 2019 v.30 no.1 pp. 66-73
Geminiviridae, coat proteins, gene silencing, genes, germplasm conservation, open reading frames, pathogenesis, single-stranded DNA, transcription (genetics), virus replication
Geminivirus infection has been a threat to cultivation worldwide by causing huge losses to the crop. The single-stranded DNA genome of a geminivirus possesses a limited coding potential and many of the open reading frames (ORFs) are overlapping. Out of 5–7 ORFs that a geminivirus genome codes for, the AC1 ORF encodes for the replication initiator protein (Rep) which is involved in the replication of virus within the infected plant cell. Rep is the only viral protein absolutely required for the in planta viral replication. Across different genera of the Geminiviridae family, the AC1 ORF exhibits a high degree of sequence conservation thus it has been used as an effective target for developing broad spectrum resistance against the invading geminiviruses. This multifunctional protein is required for initiation, elongation as well as termination of the viral replication process. Rep is also involved in stimulation of viral transcription. In addition, it also functions as suppressor of gene silencing and is involved in the process of transcription by regulating the expression of certain viral genes. Rep protein also interacts with few viral proteins such as coat protein, replication enhancer protein and with several host factors involved in different pathways and processes for its replication and efficient infection. This review will summarise our current understanding about the role of this early viral protein in viral propagation as well as in establishment of pathogenesis in a permissive host.