Tomato yellow leaf curl disease (TYLCD) is caused by a group of geminiviruses that belong to the Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) complex and are transmitted by the whitefly ( Bemisia tabaci Genn.). The disease causes great yield losses in many countries throughout the Mediterranean region and the Middle East. In this study, the efficacy of post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) to control the disease caused by TYLCV complex was investigated. Non-coding conserved regions from the genome of TYLCV, Tomato yellow leaf curl virus – mild, tomato yellow leaf curl Sardinia virus, tomato yellow leaf curl Malaga virus, and tomato yellow leaf curl Sardinia virus – Spain (2) were selected and used to design a construct that can trigger broad resistance against different viruses that cause tomato yellow leaf curl disease. The silencing construct was cloned into an Agrobacterium -binary vector in sense and antisense orientation and used in transient assay to infiltrate tomato and Nicotiana benthamiana plants. A high level of resistance was obtained when plants were agro-infiltrated with an infectious clone of the Egyptian isolate of TYLCV (TYLCV-(EG)) or challenge inoculated with TYLCV, TYLCV-Mld, and TYLCSV-ES(2) using whitefly-mediated transmission 16–20 days post infiltration with the silencing construct. Results of the polymerase chain reaction showed that the resistance was effective against all three viruses. Furthermore, dot blot hybridization and PCR failed to detect viral DNA in symptomless, silenced plants. A positive correlation between resistance and the accumulation of TYLCV-specific siRNAs was observed in silenced plants. Together, these data provide compelling evidence that PTGS can be used to engineer geminivirus-resistant plants.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2006
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