In Nicotiana species, an artificial microRNA corresponding to the virulence modulating region of Potato spindle tuber viroid directs RNA silencing of a soluble inorganic pyrophosphatase gene and the development of abnormal phenotypes.

Publisher:
Elsevier
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Virology, 2014, 450-451 pp. 266 - 277
Issue Date:
2014-02
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Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) is a small non-protein-coding RNA pathogen that can induce disease symptoms in a variety of plant species. How PSTVd induces disease symptoms is a long standing question. It has been suggested that PSTVd-derived small RNAs (sRNAs) could direct RNA silencing of a targeted host gene(s) resulting in symptom development. To test this, we expressed PSTVd sequences as artificial microRNAs (amiRNAs) in Nicotiana tabacum and Nicotiana benthamiana. One amiRNA, amiR46 that corresponds to sequences within the PSTVd virulence modulating region (VMR), induced abnormal phenotypes in both Nicotiana species that closely resemble those displayed by PSTVd infected plants. In N. tabacum amiR46 plants, phenotype severity correlated with amiR46 accumulation and expression down-regulation of the bioinformatically-identified target gene, a Nicotiana soluble inorganic pyrophosphatase (siPPase). Taken together, our phenotypic and molecular analyses suggest that disease symptom development in Nicotiana species following PSTVd infection results from sRNA-directed RNA silencing of the host gene, siPPase.
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