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Plant J. 1999 Nov;20(3):357-62.

Technical advance: potato virus X amplicon-mediated silencing of nuclear genes.

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The Sainsbury Laboratory, John Innes Centre, Colney, UK.


Transgenic expression of a replicating potato virus X (PVX) construct (termed an 'amplicon') reproducibly and consistently activates post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) in every plant. The amplicon-mediated PTGS mechanism can target transiently expressed RNAs that share homology with the amplicon transgene. We show that amplicons can also be used to silence stably integrated transgenes and endogenous genes. Plants expressing both a transgene and an amplicon targeting part of the transgene show low accumulation of the transgene RNA. Similarly, plants expressing an amplicon targeting an endogenous gene show low accumulation of the endogenous RNA and display a mutant phenotype matching a previously characterised mutation. These data demonstrate that PVX amplicons present a novel approach for the consistent activation of PTGS that can be used to specifically target and suppress gene expression in plants.

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