Serine and threonine of many nuclear and cytoplasmic proteins are posttranslationally modified with O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc). This modification is made by O-linked N-acetylglucosamine transferases (OGTs). Genetic and biochemical data have demonstrated the existence of two OGTs of Arabidopsis thaliana, SECRET AGENT (SEC) and SPINDLY (SPY), with at least partly overlapping functions, but there is little information on their target proteins. The N terminus of the capsid protein (CP) of Plum pox virus (PPV) isolated from Nicotiana clevelandii is O-GlcNAc modified. We show here that O-GlcNAc modification of PPV CP also takes place in other plant hosts, N. benthamiana and Arabidopsis. PPV was able to infect the Arabidopsis OGT mutants sec-1, sec-2, and spy-3, but at early times of the infection, both rate of virus spread and accumulation were reduced in sec-1 and sec-2 relative to spy-3 and wild-type plants. By matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry, we determined that a 39-residue tryptic peptide from the N terminus of CP of PPV purified from the spy-3 mutant, but not sec-1 or sec-2, was O-GlcNAc modified, suggesting that SEC but not SPY modifies the capsid. While our results indicate that O-GlcNAc modification of PPV CP by SEC is not essential for infection, they show that the modification has a role(s) in the process.
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