The ins and outs of nondestructive cell-to-cell and systemic movement of plant viruses

Elisabeth Waigmann, Shoko Ueki, Kateryna Trutnyeva, Vitaly Citovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

189 Citations (Scopus)


Propagation of viral infection in host plants comprises two distinct and sequential stages: viral transport from the initially infected cell into adjacent neighboring cells, a process termed local or cell-to-cell movement, and a chain of events collectively referred to as systemic movement that consists of entry into the vascular tissue, systemic distribution with the phloem stream, and unloading of the virus into noninfected tissues. To achieve intercellular transport, viruses exploit plasmodesmata, complex cytoplasmic bridges interconnecting plant cells. Viral transport through plasmodesmata is aided by virus-encoded proteins, the movement proteins (MPs), which function by two distinct mechanisms: MPs either bind viral nucleic acids and mediate passage of the resulting movement complexes (M-complexes) between cells, or MPs become a part of pathogenic tubules that penetrate through host cell walls and serve as conduits for transport of viral particles. In the first mechanism, M-complexes pass into neighboring cells without destroying or irreversibly altering plasmodesmata, whereas in the second mechanism plasmodesmata are replaced or significantly modified by the tubules. Here we summarize the current knowledge on both local and systemic movement of viruses that progress from cell to cell as M-complexes in a nondestructive fashion. For local movement, we focus mainly on movement functions of the 30 K seperfamily viruses, which encode MPs with structural homology to the 30 kDa MP of Tobacco mosaic virus, one of the most extensively studied plant viruses, whereas systemic movement is primarily described for two well-characterized model systems, Tobacco mosaic virus and Tobacco etch potyvirus. Because local and systemic movement are intimately linked to the molecular infrastructure of the host cell, special emphasis is placed on host factors and cellular structures involved in viral transport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-250
Number of pages56
JournalCritical Reviews in Plant Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Coat protein
  • Host factors
  • Intercellular transport
  • Movement protein
  • Phloem transport
  • Plasmodesmata

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The ins and outs of nondestructive cell-to-cell and systemic movement of plant viruses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this