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Transgenic Res. 2005 Dec;14(6):989-94.

Hairpin RNA-mediated silencing of Plum pox virus P1 and HC-Pro genes for efficient and predictable resistance to the virus.

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Section of General Pathology and Physiopathology, CRA Plant Pathology Research Institute, Rome, Italy.


We report the application of the hairpin-mediated RNA silencing technology for obtaining resistance to Plum pox virus (PPV) infection in Nicotiana benthamiana plants. Four sequences, covering the P1 and silencing suppressor HC-Pro genes of an Italian PPV M isolate, were introduced into N. benthamiana plants as two inverted repeats separated by an intron sequence under the transcriptional control of the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus 35S promoter. In a leaf disk infection assay, 38 out of 40 T0 transgenic plants were resistant to PPV infection. Eight lines, 2 for each construct, randomly selected among the 38 resistant plants were further analysed. Two hundred forty eight out of 253 T1 transgenic plants were resistant to local and systemic PPV infection. All transgenic single locus lines were completely resistant. These data indicate that the RNA silencing of PPV P1/HCPro sequences results in an efficient and predictable PPV resistance, which may be utilized in obtaining stone fruit plants resistant to the devastating Sharka disease.

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