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Free Content Inducible high-level mRNA amplification system by viral replicase in transgenic plants

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Summary

We have constructed a new system for inducible high-level expression of mRNA for foreign genes in transgenic plants by introducing a glucocorticoid-inducible transcription system into the previously developed ‘mRNA amplification system’ where target mRNA can be amplified as a subgenomic RNA by the replicase of a plant tripartite RNA virus, Brome mosaic virus (BMV). In the new amplification system, the amplification of mRNA is tightly regulated by the expression of a subunit of the BMV replicase. Transgenic Nicotiana benthamiana plants (designated GVG1 × 2FR) were produced that contained cDNA of BMV RNA1 coding a subunit of replicase under the control of a tightly regulated, glucocorticoid-inducible promoter. In addition GVG1 × 2FR plants contain cDNAs of BMV RNA2 coding another subunit of the replicase, and a replicable engineered BMV RNA3 derivative (FCP2IFN) carrying the human gamma interferon (IFN) gene under the control of the Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter. When transgenic plants were treated with dexamethasone (DEX), a strong synthetic glucocorticoid, induction of replication and amplification of the 35S-driven FCP2IFN and synthesis of subgenomic mRNA for IFN were observed. Accumulation levels of amplified FCP2IFN were over 300 times higher than those of the 35S-driven FCP2IFN in the GVG1 × 2FR plant without the treatment and those of the mRNA for IFN were 30–230 times higher than in the previous, non-inducible mRNA amplification system. Without DEX treatment, no subgenomic mRNA for IFN was detected in the GVG1 × 2FR plant. The advantages and potential uses of this system are also discussed.
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Keywords: Brome mosaic virus; gene silencing; plant virus; transgenic plants; viral replicase; viral vector

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratory of Plant Pathology, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606–8502, Japan

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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