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J Gen Virol. 2001 Nov;82(Pt 11):2827-36.

Comparative reactions of recombinant papaya ringspot viruses with chimeric coat protein (CP) genes and wild-type viruses on CP-transgenic papaya.

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Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University NYSAES, Geneva, NY 14456, USA.


Transgenic papaya cultivars SunUp and Rainbow express the coat protein (CP) gene of the mild mutant of papaya ringspot virus (PRSV) HA. Both cultivars are resistant to PRSV HA and other Hawaii isolates through homology-dependent resistance via post-transcriptional gene silencing. However, Rainbow, which is hemizygous for the CP gene, is susceptible to PRSV isolates from outside Hawaii, while the CP-homozygous SunUp is resistant to most isolates but susceptible to the YK isolate from Taiwan. To investigate the role of CP sequence similarity in overcoming the resistance of Rainbow, PRSV HA recombinants with various CP segments of the YK isolate were constructed and evaluated on Rainbow, SunUp and non-transgenic papaya. Non-transgenic papaya were severely infected by all recombinants, but Rainbow plants developed a variety of symptoms. On Rainbow, a recombinant with the entire CP gene of YK caused severe symptoms, while recombinants with only partial YK CP sequences produced a range of milder symptoms. Interestingly, a recombinant with a YK segment from the 5' region of the CP gene caused very mild, transient symptoms, whereas recombinants with YK segments from the middle and 3' parts of the CP gene caused prominent and lasting symptoms. SunUp was resistant to all but two recombinants, which contained the entire CP gene or the central and 3'-end regions of the CP gene and the 3' non-coding region of YK, and the resulting symptoms were mild. It is concluded that the position of the heterologous sequences in the recombinants influences their pathogenicity on Rainbow.

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