Functional & Integrative Genomics

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 143–156 | Cite as

Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) of genes expressed in root, leaf, and meiotic tissues of wheat

  • Harvinder S. Bennypaul
  • Jasdeep S. Mutti
  • Sachin Rustgi
  • Neeraj Kumar
  • Patricia A. Okubara
  • Kulvinder S. GillEmail author
Original Paper


Barley stripe mosaic virus (BSMV)-based virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) is an effective strategy for rapid functional analysis of genes in wheat leaves, but its utility to transiently express genes, and silencing in other tissues including root, flower, and developing grains, has not been demonstrated in monocots. We monitored green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression to demonstrate the utility of BSMV as a transient expression vector and silenced genes in various wheat tissues to expand VIGS utility to characterize tissue-specific genes. An antisense construct designed for coronatine insensitive1 (COI1) showed an 85% decrease in COI1 transcript level in roots accompanied by a 26% reduction in root length. Similarly, silencing of seed-specific granule-bound starch synthase by antisense and hairpin constructs resulted in up to 82% reduction in amylose content of the developing grains. VIGS of meiosis-specific genes demonstrated by silencing wheat homologue of disrupted meiosis cDNA1 (DMC1) by an antisense construct resulted in a 75–80% reduction in DMC1 transcript level accompanied by an average of 37.2 univalents at metaphase I. The virus-based transient GFP expression was observed in the leaf, phloem, and root cortex at 10–17 days post-inoculation. A novel observation was made that 8–11% of the first selfed generation progeny showed VIGS inheritance and that this proportion increased to 53–72% in the second and to 90–100% in the third generations. No viral symptoms were observed in the progeny, making it possible to study agronomic traits by VIGS. VIGS inheritance is particularly useful to study genes expressing during seed germination or other stages of early plant growth.


VIGS Wheat BSMV Gene silencing VIGS inheritance Transient gene expression 



The authors thank Dr. Gregory Pogue (Large Scale Biology Corporation, CA, USA) for providing VIGS vectors and Dr. Simon Chuong (Franchesci Electron Microscopy Center, Washington State University) for expert assistance with confocal microscopy. This work was supported by Washington Wheat Commission, The Vogel Endowment funds, and USDA ARS Project no. 5248-22000-012-00D (P.O.).

Supplementary material

10142_2011_245_MOESM1_ESM.ppt (144 kb)
Fig. S1 Genomic organization of BSMV (strain ND-18)-based VIGS vector. RNA α (a); β.Δβa, a coat protein deletion mutant of BSMV RNA β (b); pγ.wWxhp, RNA γ modified to express hairpin WAXY fragment (c); pγ.wWxas, RNA γ modified to express antisense WAXY fragment (d); pγ.TaCOI1, RNA γ modified to express antisense TaCOI1 fragment (e); pγ.TaDMC1, RNA γ modified to express antisense TaDMC1 fragment (f); pγ.MCS, RNA γ modified to express sense multiple cloning site (MCS) fragment of pBluescript (g). Sub-genomic promoters are indicated by arrows and stop codons by ST. The positions of selected restriction enzyme sites are indicated (PPT 144 kb)
10142_2011_245_MOESM2_ESM.ppt (252 kb)
Fig. S2 Pictorial representations of Oligo-based technique for making hairpin-encoding and antisense constructs for virus-induced gene silencing (PPT 252 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harvinder S. Bennypaul
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jasdeep S. Mutti
    • 1
    • 3
  • Sachin Rustgi
    • 1
  • Neeraj Kumar
    • 1
  • Patricia A. Okubara
    • 4
  • Kulvinder S. Gill
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Crop and Soil SciencesWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.Canadian Food Inspection AgencyCharlottetownCanada
  3. 3.Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.JohnstonUSA
  4. 4.USDA ARSRoot Disease and Biological Control Research UnitPullmanUSA

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