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Field trial and molecular characterization of RNAi-transgenic tomato plants that exhibit resistance to tomato yellow leaf curl geminivirus


Fuentes, Alejandro; Carlos, Natacha; Ruiz, Yoslaine; Callard, Danay; Sánchez, Yadira; Ochagavía, María Elena; Seguin, Jonathan; Malpica-López, Nachelli; Hohn, Thomas; Lecca, Maria Rita; Pérez, Rosabel; Doreste, Vivian; Rehrauer, Hubert; Farinelli, Laurent; Pujol, Merardo; Pooggin, Mikhail M (2016). Field trial and molecular characterization of RNAi-transgenic tomato plants that exhibit resistance to tomato yellow leaf curl geminivirus. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, 29(3):197-209.

Abstract

RNA interference (RNAi) is a widely used approach to generate virus-resistant transgenic crops. However, issues of agricultural importance like the long-term durability of RNAi-mediated resistance under field conditions and the potential side effects provoked in the plant by the stable RNAi expression remain poorly investigated. Here, we performed field trials and molecular characterization studies of two homozygous transgenic tomato lines, with different selection markers, expressing an intron-hairpin RNA cognate to the Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) C1 gene. The tested F6 and F4 progenies of the respective kanamycin- and basta-resistant plants exhibited unchanged field resistance to TYLCV and stably expressed the transgene-derived short interfering RNA (siRNAs) to represent 6 to 8% of the total plant small RNAs. This value outnumbered the average percentage of viral siRNAs in the nontransformed plants exposed to TYLCV-infested whiteflies. As a result of the RNAi transgene expression, a common set of up- and downregulated genes was revealed in the transcriptome profile of the plants selected from either of the two transgenic events. A previously unidentified geminivirus causing no symptoms of viral disease was detected in some of the transgenic plants. The novel virus acquired V1 and V2 genes from TYLCV and C1, C2, C3, and C4 genes from a distantly related geminivirus and, thereby, it could evade the repressive sequence-specific action of transgene-derived siRNAs. Our findings shed light on the mechanisms of siRNA-directed antiviral silencing in transgenic plants and highlight the applicability limitations of this technology as it may alter the transcriptional pattern of nontarget genes.

Abstract

RNA interference (RNAi) is a widely used approach to generate virus-resistant transgenic crops. However, issues of agricultural importance like the long-term durability of RNAi-mediated resistance under field conditions and the potential side effects provoked in the plant by the stable RNAi expression remain poorly investigated. Here, we performed field trials and molecular characterization studies of two homozygous transgenic tomato lines, with different selection markers, expressing an intron-hairpin RNA cognate to the Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) C1 gene. The tested F6 and F4 progenies of the respective kanamycin- and basta-resistant plants exhibited unchanged field resistance to TYLCV and stably expressed the transgene-derived short interfering RNA (siRNAs) to represent 6 to 8% of the total plant small RNAs. This value outnumbered the average percentage of viral siRNAs in the nontransformed plants exposed to TYLCV-infested whiteflies. As a result of the RNAi transgene expression, a common set of up- and downregulated genes was revealed in the transcriptome profile of the plants selected from either of the two transgenic events. A previously unidentified geminivirus causing no symptoms of viral disease was detected in some of the transgenic plants. The novel virus acquired V1 and V2 genes from TYLCV and C1, C2, C3, and C4 genes from a distantly related geminivirus and, thereby, it could evade the repressive sequence-specific action of transgene-derived siRNAs. Our findings shed light on the mechanisms of siRNA-directed antiviral silencing in transgenic plants and highlight the applicability limitations of this technology as it may alter the transcriptional pattern of nontarget genes.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Functional Genomics Center Zurich
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:March 2016
Deposited On:17 Jan 2017 13:26
Last Modified:29 Jan 2017 07:16
Publisher:American Phytopathological Society
ISSN:0894-0282
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1094/MPMI-08-15-0181-R
PubMed ID:26713353

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