A virus-derived short hairpin RNA confers resistance against sugarcane mosaic virus in transgenic sugarcane
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RNA interference (RNAi) is commonly used to produce virus tolerant transgenic plants. The objective of the current study was to generate transgenic sugarcane plants expressing a short hairpin RNAs (shRNA) targeting the coat protein (CP) gene of sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV). Based on multiple sequence alignment, including genomic sequences of four SCMV strains, a conserved region of ~ 456 bp coat protein (CP) gene was selected as target gene and amplified through polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Subsequently, siRNAs2 and siRNA4 were engineered as stable short hairpin (shRNA) transgenes of 110 bp with stem and loop sequences derived from microRNA (sof-MIR168a; an active regulatory miRNA in sugarcane). These transgenes were cloned in independent RNAi constructs under the control of the polyubiquitin promoter. The RNAi constructs were delivered into two sugarcane cultivars ‘SPF-234 and NSG-311 in independent experiments using particle bombardment. Molecular identification through PCR and Southern blot revealed anti-SCMV positive transgenic lines. Upon mechanical inoculation of transgenic and non-transgenic sugarcane lines with SCMV, the degree of resistance was found variable among the two sugarcane cultivars. For sugarcane cultivar NSG-311, the mRNA expression of the CP–SCMV was reduced to 10% in shRNA2-transgenic lines and 80% in shRNA4-transgenic lines. In sugarcane cultivar SPF-234, the mRNA expression of the CP–SCMV was reduced to 20% in shRNA2-transgenic lines and 90% in shRNA4 transgenic lines, revealing that transgenic plants expressing shRNA4 were almost immune to SCMV infection.
KeywordsRNA interference Anti-SCMV transgenic sugarcane lines Short hairpin RNA transgene mRNA expression knockdown
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