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Site-Directed Mutagenesis and Generation of Chimeric Viruses by Homologous Recombination in Yeast to Facilitate Analysis of Plant-Virus Interactions

June 2004 , Volume 17 , Number  6
Pages  571 - 576

Delin Liang , 1 Stewart M. Gray , 1 Igor Kaplan , 1 and Peter Palukaitis 2

1United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service and Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, U.S.A.; 2Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA, U. K.

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Accepted 30 January 2004.

A yeast homologous recombination system was used to generate mutants and chimeras in the genome of Potato leafroll virus (PLRV). A yeast-bacteria shuttle vector was developed that allows mutants and chimeras generated in yeast to be transformed into Escherichia coli for confirmation of the mutations and transformed into Agrobacterium tumefaciens to facilitate agroinfection of plants by the mutant PLRV genomes. The advantages of the system include the high frequency of recovered mutants generated by yeast homologous recombination, the ability to generate over 20 mutants and chimeras using only two restriction endonuclease sites, the ability to introduce multiple additional sequences using three and four DNA fragments, and the mobilization of the same plasmid from yeast to E. coli, A. tumefaciens, and plants. The wild-type PLRV genome showed no loss of virulence after sequential propagation in yeast, E. coli, and A. tumefaciens. Moreover, many PLRV clones with mutations generated in the capsid protein and readthrough domain of the capsid protein replicated and moved throughout plants. This approach will facilitate the analysis of plant-virus interactions of in vivo-generated mutants for many plant viruses, especially those not transmissible mechanically to plants.

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society