Heterologous gene expression using plant virus vectors enables research on host-virus interactions and the production of useful proteins, but the host range of plant viruses limits the practical applications of such vectors. Here, we aimed to develop a viral vector based on cucumber fruit mottle mosaic virus (CFMMV), a member of the genus Tobamovirus , whose members infect cucurbits. The subgenomic promoter (SGP) in the coat protein (CP) gene, which was used to drive heterologous expression, was mapped by analyzing deletion mutants from a CaMV 35S promoter-driven infectious CFMMV clone. The region from nucleotides (nt) −55 to +160 relative to the start codon of the open reading frame (ORF) of CP was found to be a fully active promoter, and the region from nt −55 to +100 was identified as the active core promoter. Based on these SGPs, we constructed a cloning site in the CFMMV vector and successfully expressed enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) in Nicotiana benthamiana and watermelon ( Citrullus lanatus ). Co-inoculation with the P19 suppressor increased EGFP expression and viral replication by blocking degradation of the viral genome. Our CFMMV vector will be useful as an expression vector in cucurbits.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2016
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