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Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2006 Nov;19(11):1229-39.

Characterization of a Brome mosaic virus strain and its use as a vector for gene silencing in monocotyledonous hosts.

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  • 1Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc., 2510 Sam Noble Parkway, Ardmore, OK, 73401, USA.


Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) is used to analyze gene function in dicotyledonous plants but less so in monocotyledonous plants (particularly rice and corn), partially due to the limited number of virus expression vectors available. Here, we report the cloning and modification for VIGS of a virus from Festuca arundinacea Schreb. (tall fescue) that caused systemic mosaic symptoms on barley, rice, and a specific cultivar of maize (Va35) under greenhouse conditions. Through sequencing, the virus was determined to be a strain of Brome mosaic virus (BMV). The virus was named F-BMV (F for Festuca), and genetic determinants that controlled the systemic infection of rice were mapped to RNAs 1 and 2 of the tripartite genome. cDNA from RNA 3 of the Russian strain of BMV (R-BMV) was modified to accept inserts from foreign genes. Coinoculation of RNAs 1 and 2 from F-BMV and RNA 3 from R-BMV expressing a portion of a plant gene to leaves of barley, rice, and maize plants resulted in visual silencing-like phenotypes. The visual phenotypes were correlated with decreased target host transcript levels in the corresponding leaves. The VIGS visual phenotype varied from maintained during silencing of actin 1 transcript expression to transient with incomplete penetration through affected tissue during silencing of phytoene desaturase expression. F-BMV RNA 3 was modified to allow greater accumulation of virus while minimizing virus pathogenicity. The modified vector C-BMV(A/G) (C for chimeric) was shown to be useful for VIGS. These BMV vectors will be useful for analysis of gene function in rice and maize for which no VIGS system is reported.

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