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Ribozyme-mediated high resistance against potato spindle tuber viroid in transgenic potatoes

Yang, X., Yie, Y., Zhu, F., Liu, Y., Kang, L.Y., Wang, X.F., Tien, P.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 1997 v.94 no.10 pp. 4861-4865
genetic transformation, gene transfer, transgenic plants, Potato spindle tuber viroid, Agrobacterium radiobacter, Solanum tuberosum, mutagenesis, gene expression, genes, disease resistance, mutants, inheritance (genetics), RNA, catalytic activity
A hammerhead ribozyme [R(-)] targeting the minus strand RNA of potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) and a mutated nonfunctional ribozyme [mR(-)] were designed, cloned, and transcribed. As predicted, both monomer and dimer transcripts of the active R(-) ribozyme gene could cleave the PSTVd minus strand dimer RNA into three fragments of 77, 338, and 359 bases in vitro at 25 and 50 degrees C. The tandem dimer genes of R(-) and mR(-) were subcloned separately into the plant expression vector pROK2. Transgenic potato plants (cultivar Desiree) were generated by Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Twenty-three of 34 independent transgenic plant lines expressing the active ribozyme R(-) resulted in having high levels of resistance to PSTVd, being free of PSTVd accumulation after challenge inoculation with PSTVd, but the remaining lines showed weaker levels of resistance to PSTVd with low levels of PSTVd accumulation. In contrast, 59 of 60 independent transgenic lines expressing the mutated ribozyme mR(-) were susceptible to PSTVd inoculation and had levels of PSTVd accumulation similar to that of the control plants transformed with the empty vector. The resistance against PSTVd replication was stably inherited to the vegetative progenies.