HRT gene function requires interaction between a NAC protein and viral capsid protein to confer resistance to turnip crinkle virus.
An Arabidopsis protein was found to interact specifically with the capsid protein (CP) of turnip crinkle virus (TCV) through yeast two-hybrid screening. This protein, designated TIP (for TCV-interacting protein), was found to be a member of the recently recognized NAC family of proteins. NAC proteins have been implicated in the regulation of development of plant embryos and flowers. TIP alone was able to activate expression of reporter genes in yeast if fused to a DNA binding domain, suggesting that it may be a transcriptional activator. The TIP binding region in the TCV CP has been mapped to the N-terminal 25 amino acids. Site-directed mutagenesis within this region revealed that loss of the TIP-CP interaction in the yeast two-hybrid assay correlated with loss of the ability of TCV to induce the hypersensitive response and resistance in the TCV-resistant Arabidopsis ecotype Dijon (Di-0 and its inbred line Di-17). These data suggest that TIP is an essential component in the TCV resistance response pathway.