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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Apr;1769(4):228-35. Epub 2007 Mar 24.

Differential display analysis of gene expression in Etrog citron leaves infected by Citrus viroid III.

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Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Fitosanitarie, DISTEF, University of Catania, Italy.


Citrus are natural hosts of several viroids, which are plant pathogens composed exclusively of a non-protein-coding, small single-stranded circular RNA that is able to replicate autonomously in susceptible hosts. They are responsible for symptoms such as stunting, leaf epinasty, and chlorosis. Citrus viroid III (CVd-III) has been long regarded as a possible dwarfing agent of citrus grafted on trifoliate orange and its hybrids. To investigate molecular mechanisms involved in pathogenesis, the messenger RNA (mRNA) differential display technique was here applied to identify genes whose transcription was significantly altered in leaves of Etrog citron (Citrus medica) infected by CVd-III (variant b). Of eighteen genes identified, thirteen were up-regulated by viroid infection, while five were down-regulated. Except for two genes that encode proteins of unknown function, the remaining genes are mainly involved in plant defence/stress responses, signal transduction, amino acid transport, and cell wall structure. Among the up-regulated genes, it is noteworthy a suppressor of RNA silencing that might be involved in viroid and virus pathogenicity. The functions of these genes are discussed.

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