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Mol Cells. 2006 Feb 28;21(1):153-60.

Enhancement of virus-induced gene silencing in tomato by low temperature and low humidity.

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Laboratory of Fruit Biology, College of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, China.


Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) is an attractive reverse-genetics tool for studying gene function in plants. We showed that silencing of a phytoene desaturase (PDS) gene is maintained throughout TRV-PDS-inoculated tomato plants as well as in their flowers and fruit and is enhanced by low temperature (15 degrees C) and low humidity (30%). RT-PCR analysis of the PDS gene revealed a dramatic reduction in the level of PDS mRNA in leaves, flowers and fruits. Silencing of PDS results in the accumulation of phytoene, the desaturase substrate. In addition, the content of chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b and total chlorophyll in the leaves of PDS-silenced plants was reduced by more than 90%. We also silenced the LeEIN2 gene by infecting seedlings, and this suppressed fruit ripenning. We conclude that this VIGS approach should facilitate large-scale functional analysis of genes involved in the development and ripening of tomato.

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