An efficient viral vector for functional genomic studies of Prunus fruit trees and its induced resistance to Plum pox virus via silencing of a host factor gene.
Cui, H., and Wang, A.M. (2017). "An efficient viral vector for functional genomic studies of Prunus fruit trees and its induced resistance to Plum pox virus via silencing of a host factor gene." Plant Biotechnology Journal 15(3): 344-356. doi: 10.1111/pbi.12629. Access to full text
RNA silencing is a powerful technology for molecular characterization of gene functions in plants. A commonly used approach to the induction of RNA silencing is through genetic transformation. A potent alternative is to use a modified viral vector for virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) to degrade RNA molecules sharing similar nucleotide sequence. Unfortunately, genomic studies in many allogamous woody perennials such as peach are severely hindered because they have a long juvenile period and are recalcitrant to genetic transformation. Here, we report the development of a viral vector derived from Prunus necrotic ringspot virus (PNRSV), a widespread fruit tree virus that is endemic in all Prunus fruit production countries and regions in the world. We show that the modified PNRSV vector, harbouring the sense-orientated target gene sequence of 100-200 bp in length in genomic RNA3, could efficiently trigger the silencing of a transgene or an endogenous gene in the model plant Nicotiana benthamiana. We further demonstrate that the PNRSV-based vector could be manipulated to silence endogenous genes in peach such as eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E isoform (eIF(iso)4E), a host factor of many potyviruses including Plum pox virus (PPV). Moreover, the eIF(iso)4E-knocked down peach plants were resistant to PPV. This work opens a potential avenue for the control of virus diseases in perennial trees via viral vector-mediated silencing of host factors, and the PNRSV vector may serve as a powerful molecular tool for functional genomic studies of Prunus fruit trees.
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