During tobamovirus–host coevolution, tobamoviruses developed numerous interactions with host susceptibility factors and exploited these interactions for replication and movement. The plant-encoded TOBAMOVIRUS MULTIPLICATION (TOM) susceptibility proteins interact with the tobamovirus replicase proteins and allow the formation of the viral replication complex. Here CRISPR/Cas9-mediated mutagenesis allowed the exploration of the roles of SlTOM1a, SlTOM1b, and SlTOM3 in systemic tobamovirus infection of tomato. Knockouts of both SlTOM1a and SlTOM3 in sltom1a/sltom3 plants resulted in an asymptomatic response to the infection with recently emerged tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV). In addition, an accumulation of ToBRFV RNA and coat protein (CP) in sltom1a/sltom3 mutant plants was 516- and 25-fold lower, respectively, than in wild-type (WT) plants at 12 days postinoculation. In marked contrast, sltom1a/sltom3 plants were susceptible to previously known tomato viruses, tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) and tomato mosaic virus (ToMV), indicating that SlTOM1a and SlTOM3 are not essential for systemic infection of TMV and ToMV in tomato plants. Knockout of SlTOM1b alone did not contribute to ToBRFV and ToMV resistance. However, in triple mutants sltom1a/sltom3/sltom1b, ToMV accumulation was three-fold lower than in WT plants, with no reduction in symptoms. These results indicate that SlTOM1a and SlTOM3 are essential for the replication of ToBRFV, but not for ToMV and TMV, which are associated with additional susceptibility proteins. Additionally, we showed that SlTOM1a and SlTOM3 positively regulate the tobamovirus susceptibility gene SlARL8a3. Moreover, we found that the SlTOM family is involved in the regulation of plant development.
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© 2022 The Authors. Molecular Plant Pathology published by British Society for Plant Pathology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.