Virus Induced Gene Silencing Approach: A Potential Functional Genomics Tool for Rapid Validation of Function of Genes Associated with Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Crop Plants
Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) is a versatile tool for functional characterization of plant genes using gene transcript suppression. With increased identification of differentially expressed genes employing high-throughput transcript profiling under various abiotic stresses, functional elucidation of stress-responsive genes is crucial to understand their role in stress tolerance. In recent past, VIGS has been successfully used as reverse genetic elegant tool for gene function analysis in various model plants and also in crop plants. Viral vector-based silencing of gene of interest and studying the gene knockdown plants under stress can be one of the potential options for assessing functional significance of stress-responsive genes. This review provides an overview of how VIGS is used in different crop plants to characterize genes responsive to various kinds of abiotic stresses, viz., drought stress, salinity stress, heat stress, cold stress, and oxidative and nutrient-deficiency stresses. This review also documents examples from studies where abiotic stress-responsive genes have been functionally characterized using VIGS. In addition, we also summarize improvement in abiotic stress tolerance, seed yield, and seed quality traits in crop plants. This review also describes advantages of VIGS over other functional genomics tools, improvement and limitations of VIGS approach, and future prospects of VIGS as efficient tool for studying adaptation and tolerance in crop plants to various kinds of abiotic stresses. In this review, we have also discussed the mechanism of VIGS and novel ways for application of VIGS to carry out functional elucidation of abiotic stress-responsive genes in a wide range of crops.
KeywordsAbiotic stress Gene function Posttranscriptional gene silencing Virus-induced gene silencing Limited soil moisture Drought stress Salt stress Water-deficit condition
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