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Transgenic Plants Expressing Geminivirus Movement Proteins: Abnormal Phenotypes and Delayed Infection by Tomato mottle virus in Transgenic Tomatoes Expressing the Bean dwarf mosaic virus BV1 or BC1 Proteins

March 2000 , Volume 13 , Number  3
Pages  297 - 308

Yu-Ming Hou , 1 Rick Sanders , 2 Virgina M. Ursin , 2 and Robert L. Gilbertson 1

1Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis 95616, U.S.A.; 2Calgene LLC., Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.

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Accepted 15 November 1999.

Transgenic tomato plants expressing wild-type or mutated BV1 or BC1 movement proteins from Bean dwarf mosaic virus (BDMV) were generated and examined for phenotypic effects and resistance to Tomato mottle virus (ToMoV). Fewer transgenic plants were recovered with the wild-type or mutated BC1 genes, compared with the wild-type or mutated BV1 genes. Transgenic tomato plants expressing the wild-type or mutated BV1 proteins appeared normal. Interestingly, although BDMV induces only a symptomless infection in tomato (i.e., BDMV is not well adapted to tomato), transgenic tomato plants expressing the BDMV BC1 protein showed a viral disease-like phenotype (i.e., stunted growth, and leaf mottling, curling, and distortion). This suggests that the symptomless phenotype of BDMV in tomato is not due to a host-specific defect in the BC1 protein. One transgenic line expressing the BC1 gene did not show the viral disease-like phenotype. This was associated with a deletion in the 3′ region of the gene, which resulted in expression of a truncated BC1 protein. Several R0 plants, expressing either wild-type or mutated BV1 or BC1 proteins, showed a significant delay in ToMoV infection, compared with non-transformed plants. R1 progeny plants also showed a significant delay in ToMoV infection, but this delay was less than that in the R0 parents. These results also demonstrate that expression of viral movement proteins, in transgenic plants, can have deleterious effects on various aspects of plant development.

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society