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Genetic transformation of Citrus sinensis with Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) derived sequences and reaction of transgenic lines to CTV infection


Transgenic Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb. plants, cvs. Valencia and Hamlin, expressing Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) derived sequences were obtained by genetic transformation. The gene constructs were pCTV-CP containing the 25 kDa major capsid protein gene (CTV-CP), pCTV-dsCP containing the same CTV-CP gene in an intron-spliced hairpin construct, and pCTV-CS containing a 559 nt conserved region of the CTV genome. The transgenic lines were identified by PCR and the transgene integration was confirmed by Southern blot. Transgene mRNA could be detected in most transgenic lines containing pCTV-CP or pCTV-CS transgene. The mRNA of pCTV-dsCP transgene was almost undetectable, with very light bands in most analyzed plants. The transgene transcription appears to be closely linked to the type of gene construct. The virus challenge assays reveals that all transgenic lines were infected. However, it was possible to identify propagated clones of transgenic plants of both cultivars studied with a low virus titer, with values similar to the noninoculated plants (negative control). These results suggested that the transgenic plants present some level of resistance to virus replication. The higher number of clones with low virus titer and where mRNA could not be detected or was presented in a very light band was found for pCTV-dsCP-derived transgenic lines.

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Citrus tristeza virus


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The authors acknowledge Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), and Fundo de Defesa da Citricultura (Fundecitrus) for research financial support and research fellowships; Sanicitrus Mudas Cítricas (Araras, SP, Brazil) and Horticitrus Mudas Cítricas (Cordeirópolis, SP, Brazil) for kindly providing rootstock material and non-transgenic budwood; Centro APTA Citros Sylvio Moreira (Cordeirópolis, SP, Brazil) for kindly providing seeds of the sweet orange cultivars and certified CTV infected budwood. The first two authors contributed equally to this work.

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Correspondence to B. M. J. Mendes.

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Muniz, F.R., De Souza, A.J., Stipp, L.C.L. et al. Genetic transformation of Citrus sinensis with Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) derived sequences and reaction of transgenic lines to CTV infection. Biol Plant 56, 162–166 (2012).

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Additional key words

  • disease resistance
  • hairpin
  • gene silencing
  • sweet orange