Virus-Derived ssDNA Vectors for the Expression of Foreign Proteins in Plants
Plant viruses with ssRNA genomes provide a unique opportunity for generating expression vehicles for biopharming in plants, as constructs containing only the replication origin, with the replication-associated protein (Rep) gene provided in cis or in trans, can be replicationally amplified in vivo by several orders of magnitude, with significant accompanying increases in transcription and expression of gene(s) of interest. Appropriate replicating vectors or replicons may be derived from several different generic geminiviruses (family Geminiviridae) or nanoviruses (family Nanoviridae), for potential expression of a wide range of single or even multiple products in a wide range of plant families. The use of vacuum or other infiltration of whole plants by Agrobacterium tumefaciens suspensions has allowed the development of a set of expression vectors that rival the deconstructed RNA virus vectors in their yield and application, with some potential advantages over the latter that still need to be explored. Several modern applications of ssDNA plant vectors and their future potential will be discussed.
KeywordsMaize Streak Virus African Cassava Mosaic Virus Roll Circle Replication ssDNA Virus Wheat Dwarf Virus
We gratefully acknowledge financial assistance from the University of Cape Town, the National Research Foundation and the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Guy Regnard and James Dale for illustrations, and lab members past and present for their sterling work.
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