QUT ePrints

Identification of viral-based replicating vectors suitable for the development of a sugarcane bioreactor

Pirlo, Steven Dominic (2007) Identification of viral-based replicating vectors suitable for the development of a sugarcane bioreactor. .

Abstract

The circular, single-stranded (ss) DNA genomes of plant viruses in the families Geminiviridae and Nanoviridae are replicated within the nucleus of a host cell by a mechanism called rolling circle replication (RCR). Although this process relies almost exclusively on the replication machinery of the host cell, initiation occurs via the interaction of the viral replication initiation protein (Rep) with regulatory DNA sequences within the viral genome. The use of a virus-based episomal amplification technology as a plant bioreactor platform exploits the process of Rep-mediated RCR for the high-level amplification of virus-based episomes in plants and subsequent expression of heterologous proteins; such an approach offers advantages over existing gene expression technologies. This PhD thesis describes research towards the development of a virus-based episomal amplification system for use in sugarcane. Such a crop is ideally suited for a plant bioreactor system due to the efficient high-level production of plant biomass and the existence of established production, harvesting and processing infrastructure.

In order to rapidly assess the potential of a virus-based episomal amplification system in sugarcane, a transient assay system was established. Sugarcane callus was identified as the most suitable cell preparation; providing rapid cell regeneration, uniform experimental samples and upon isolation, total DNA suitable for Southern analysis. This assay system once established, proved effective in rapidly identifying virus-based episomes capable of undergoing RCR within sugarcane host cells.

This transient assay system was then used to test the functionality of a virus-based episomal amplification system based on the ssDNA virus, Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV) in sugarcane. BBTV-based episomal amplification vectors were constructed with a reporter gene expression cassette flanked by two copies of the BBTV regulatory DNA sequences. The episomal amplification vectors were bombarded into sugarcane and banana host cells in various combinations and evidence of RCR was assessed through Southern blot analysis. RCR products were identified in banana host cells bombarded with the BBTV-based episomal amplification vectors in combination with vectors encoding BBTV Master-Rep (M Rep). RCR products were not identified within sugarcane cells bombarded with the same construct combinations.

Integrated InPAct (In Plant Activation) episomal vectors based on BBTV were then employed to confirm the transient results, in addition, the functionality of an InPAct vector based on an alternate virus, Tobacco yellow dwarf virus (TYDV) was also assessed. InPAct vectors based on BBTV were constructed with an untranslatable expression cassette for integration within the sugarcane genome. Transient experiments were performed to assess the ability of BBTV M-Rep and TYDV Rep to initiate RCR of their respective InPAct vectors. Visual observation of GFP expression indicated that BBTV M-Rep was capable of initiating RCR of the BBTVbased InPAct vectors within banana host cells but no evidence was observed in sugarcane host cells. TYDV Rep was capable of initiating RCR of the TYDV-based InPAct vector within sugarcane host cells with a 100-fold increase in the number of fluorescent foci compared to cells bombarded with the TYDV InPAct vector alone. The BBTV-based InPAct vector was stably integrated within the sugarcane genome and the ability for BBTV M-Rep to initiate episome formation and RCR was assessed by Southern blot analysis. Evidence of BBTV M-Rep mediated RCR was not detected within the transgenic sugarcane bombarded with BBTV M-Rep. Transgenic sugarcane containing the TYDV-based InPAct vectors was assessed for the ability to be activated by TYDV Rep and undergo RCR. Southern blot analysis demonstrated that TYDV Rep was capable of recognising the integrated TYDVbased InPAct vector and RCR was detected within the transgenic sugarcane.

The observation that episomal vectors based on TYDV were functional within sugarcane host cells and BBTV-based vectors were not, was unexpected. It had been hypothesised that an episomal vector based on a monocot-infecting virus would replicate in an alternate monocot host, while an episomal vector based on a dicot infecting virus would not. Virus replication is thought to be host-specific however most host range studies have been conducted with full length infectious clones and not deconstructed virus-based episomes. The implication that viral Reps may be functional in plant cells of non-host species was then investigated. The ability for viral Reps to recognise their cognate IR and initiate RCR of virus-based episomes in different host cells was assessed through cross-replication experiments. Four ssDNA plant viruses; BBTV, TYDV, Chloris striate mosaic virus (CSMV) and Tomato leaf curl virus - Australia (ToLCV-Au) were assessed via Southern blot analysis for their ability to initiate both autonomous replication of infectious clones and episomal amplification within three different plant hosts; tobacco, sugarcane and banana.

Results from cross replication studies indicated a complex interaction between viral and host replication components. BBTV infectious clones and episomal vectors were restricted to replication within banana host cells providing a clear indication that episomal amplification vectors based on BBTV are restricted to Musa spp.

BBTV M-Rep was unable to recognise the viral regulatory DNA sequences of the other three ssDNA viruses. TYDV infectious clones and episomal vectors were capable of replicating within all three host cells tested, indicating that TYDV is capable of undergoing RCR within a broad range of plant hosts. TYDV Rep was also capable of recognising the viral regulatory DNA sequences of both CSMV and BBTV given favourable conditions within specific plant hosts. Replication of the CSMV infectious clone was not detected in any of the three host cells, although fidelity of this clone requires further confirmation. CSMV episomal vectors were functional within banana host cells only, indicating that although closely related to TYDV, episomal amplification vectors based on CSMV have a restricted host range.

CSMV Rep could not initiate RCR of episomal amplification vectors containing the viral regulatory DNA regions of the other three viruses in any of the plant host cells. ToLCV-Au infectious clones were capable of replicating within banana and tobacco host cells. Episomal amplification vectors based on ToLCV-Au extended the host range to sugarcane. ToLCV-Au Rep was unable to recognise the viral regulatory

DNA sequences of the other three viruses in any of the plant host cells. The ability for a viral Rep to recognise its own cognate regulatory DNA sequences within alternate plant host cells is variable. Episomal amplification vectors based on TYDV and ToLCV-Au appear to be the most suitable for the further development of a virusbased bioreactor system in sugarcane.

This study details the initial steps taken towards the development of a virus-based episomal amplification system in sugarcane. In doing so, fundamental knowledge into the mechanisms involved in Rep recognition of viral regulatory DNA sequences has been gathered. These research findings will provide a solid foundation for the further development of a sugarcane-based bioreactor.

Impact and interest:

Citation countsare sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

835 since deposited on 03 Dec 2008
139 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloadsdisplays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 16548
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Collet, Christopher, Geijskes, Robert, & Harding, Robert
Keywords: bioreactor; episomal; amplification; rolling circle replication; replication initiation protein; replication accessory protein; TYDV; BBTV; ToLCV-Au; CSMV; ssDNA plant virus
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > School of Life Sciences
Department: Faculty of Science
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Steven Dominic Pirlo
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 14:05
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 05:49

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page