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Broad-Spectrum Resistance to Different Geographic Strains of Papaya ringspot virus in Coat Protein Gene Transgenic Papaya

January 2003 , Volume 93 , Number  1
Pages  112 - 120

Huey-Jiunn Bau , Ying-Huey Cheng , Tsong-Ann Yu , Jiu-Sherng Yang , and Shyi-Dong Yeh

First and fifth authors: Department of Plant Pathology, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China; second author: Department of Horticulture, Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute, Wufeng, Taiwan, Republic of China; and third and fourth authors: Department of Botany, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China

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Accepted for publication 23 August 2002.

Papaya ringspot virus (PRSV) is a major limiting factor for cultivation of papaya (Carica papaya) in tropical and subtropical areas throughout the world. Although the coat protein (CP) gene of PRSV has been transferred into papaya by particle bombardment and transgenic lines with high resistance to Hawaii strains have been obtained, they are susceptible to PRSV isolates outside of Hawaii. This strain-specific resistance limits the application of the transgenic lines in other areas of the world. In this investigation, the CP gene of a local strain isolated from Taiwan, designated PRSV YK, was transferred into papaya via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. A total of 45 putative transgenic lines were obtained and the presence of the transgene in papaya was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction amplification. When the plants of transgenic lines were challenged with PRSV YK by mechanical inoculation, they showed different levels of resistance ranging from delay of symptom development to complete immunity. Molecular analysis of nine selected lines that exhibited different levels of resistance revealed that the expression level of the transgene is negatively correlated with the degree of resistance, suggesting that the resistance is manifested by a RNA-mediated mechanism. The segregation analysis showed that the transgene in the immune line 18-0-9 has an inheritance of two dominant loci and the other four highly resistant lines have a single dominant locus. Seven selected lines were tested further for resistance to three PRSV heterologous strains that originated in Hawaii, Thailand, and Mexico. Six of the seven lines showed varying degrees of resistance to the heterologous strains, and one line, 19-0-1, was immune not only to the homologous YK strain but also to the three heterologous strains. Thus, these CP-transgenic papaya lines with broad-spectrum resistance have great potential for use in Taiwan and other geographic areas to control PRSV.

© 2003 The American Phytopathological Society