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Expression of rice yellow mottle virus coat protein enhances virus infection in transgenic plants

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The disease caused by rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV) is a major, economically important constraint to rice production in Africa. RYMV is mechanically transmitted by a variety of agents, including insect vectors. The production of resistant rice varieties would be an important advance in the control of the disease and increase rice production in Africa. We produced transgenic plants of the Oryza sativa japonica variety, TP309, to express a RYMV coat protein gene (CP) and mutants of the CP under the control of a ubiquitin promoter. Transgenic plants expressing genes that encode wild-type CP (wt.CP), deleted CP (ΔNLS.CP), mRNA of the CP, or antisense CP sequences of the CP gene were characterised. Eighty per cent (80%) of independent transgenic lines analysed contained CP gene sequences. Transgenic plants were challenged with RYMV and produced two types of reactions. Most of the plants expressing antisense sequences of the CP and untranslatable CP mRNA exhibited a delay in virus accumulation of up to a week, and the level of virus accumulation was reduced compared with non-transgenic TP309 plants. Transgenic plants expressing RYMV wild-type CP (wt.CP) and deleted CP (ΔNLS.CP) accumulated the highest levels of virus particles. These results suggest that antisense CP and untranslatable CP mRNA induced moderate resistance, whereas transgenic CP enhanced virus infection.

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Kouassi, N., Chen, L., Siré, C. et al. Expression of rice yellow mottle virus coat protein enhances virus infection in transgenic plants. Arch Virol 151, 2111–2122 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00705-006-0802-3

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