Research Institute for Bioresources, Okayama University, Kurashiki, Okayama 710-0046, Japan
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Accepted 2 November 2004.
In plants, RNA silencing is part of a defense mechanism against virus infection but there is little information as to whether RNA silencing-mediated resistance functions similarly in roots and leaves. We have obtained transgenic Nicotiana benthamiana plants encoding the coat protein readthrough domain open reading frame (54 kDa) of Beet necrotic yellow vein virus (BNYVV), which either showed a highly resistant or a recovery phenotype following foliar rub-inoculation with BNYVV. These phenotypes were associated with an RNA silencing mechanism. Roots of the resistant plants that were immune to foliar rub-inoculation with BNYVV could be infected by viruliferous zoospores of the vector fungus Polymyxa betae, although virus multiplication was greatly limited. In addition, virus titer was reduced in symptomless leaves of the plants showing the recovery phenotype, but it was high in roots of the same plants. Compared with leaves of silenced plants, higher levels of transgene mRNAs and lower levels of transgene-derived small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) accumulated in roots. Similarly, in nontransgenic plants inoculated with BNYVV, accumulation level of viral RNA-derived siRNAs in roots was lower than in leaves. These results indicate that the RNA silencing-mediated resistance to BNYVV is less effective in roots than in leaves.
© 2005 The American Phytopathological Society