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Chimeric cDNA Sequences from Citrus tristeza virus Confer RNA Silencing-Mediated Resistance in Transgenic Nicotiana benthamiana Plants

August 2006 , Volume 96 , Number  8
Pages  819 - 827

Gourgopal Roy , Mysore R. Sudarshana , Diane E. Ullman , Shou-Wei Ding , Abhaya M. Dandekar , and Bryce W. Falk

First, second, and sixth authors: Department of Plant Pathology; third author: Department of Entomology; and fifth author: Department of Plant Science, University of California, Davis; and fourth author: Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Riverside

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Accepted for publication 31 March 2006.

RNA silencing has been shown to be an important mechanism for conferring resistance in transgenic, virus-resistant plants. We used this approach to evaluate resistance in Nicotiana benthamiana plants transformed with chimeric coding and noncoding sequences from Citrus tristeza virus (CTV). Several independent transgenic plant lines were generated, using two constructs (pCTV1 and pCTV2) designed to produce self-complementary transcripts. The pCTV1 contained cDNA sequences from the CTV capsid protein (CP), p20, and 3′ untranslated region (UTR); and pCTV2 contained CP, p23, and 3′ UTR sequences. Heterologous recombinant Potato virus X (PVX) containing either homologous or heterologous CTV sequences was used to challenge plants and resistance was evaluated phenotypically and validated with reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and northern hybridization analysis. Transgenic plants (T1 generation) for each construct showed resistance to recombinant PVX constructs used for challenge experiments when PVX contained p20 or UTR (for CTV1 plants), or p23 or UTR (for CTV2 plants). However, no resistance was seen when plants were challenged with PVX containing the CTV CP. T2 generation plants also showed resistance even when challenged with PVX containing the cognate CTV sequences obtained from heterologous CTV isolates. The presence of transgene-specific small interfering RNAs in the resistant CTV1 and CTV2 plants indicated that resistance was mediated by post-transcriptional gene silencing.

© 2006 The American Phytopathological Society