Plant viruses hijack host translation machineries to drive protein synthesis that causes viral disease in crops. To gain insight into pathogenic mechanisms, a team led by Dr Ming- Jung Liu at the Agricultural Biotechnology Research Center, Academia Sinica, investigated the sites on viral mRNAs that can initiate protein translation and found novel multiple initiation sites that encode new viral factors important for disease symptom development. The findings suggest that the coding capacity of plant virus genomes are underappreciated and will facilitate investigations of other plant viruses and aid in building novel antiviral strategies. The results were published in Plant Cell.

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Unlock the secret of plant viral genome: new starts for protein synthesis