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Towards the development of transgenic banana bunchy top virus (BBTV)-resistant banana plants : interference with replication

Tsao, Theresa Tsun-Hui (2008) Towards the development of transgenic banana bunchy top virus (BBTV)-resistant banana plants : interference with replication. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV) causes one of the most devastating diseases of banana. Transgenic virus resistance is now considered one of the most promising strategies to control BBTV. Pathogen-derived resistance (PDR) strategies have been applied successfully to generate plants that are resistant to numerous different viruses, primarily against those viruses with RNA genomes. BBTV is a circular, single-stranded (css) DNA virus of the family Nanoviridae, which is closely related to the family Geminiviridae. Although there are some successful examples of PDR against geminiviruses, PDR against the nanoviruses has not been reported. Therefore, the aim of this thesis was to investigate the potential of BBTV genes to interfere with virus replication when used as transgenes for engineering banana plants resistance to BBTV. The replication initiation protein (Rep) of nanoviruses is the only viral protein essential for viral replication and represents an ideal target for PDR. Therefore, this thesis focused on the effect of wild-type or mutated Rep genes from BBTV satellite DNAs or the BBTV integral genome on the replication of BBTV in banana embryogenic cell suspensions.
A new Rep-encoding satellite DNA, designated BBTV DNA-S4, was isolated from a Vietnamese BBTV isolate and characterised. When the effect of DNA-S4 on the replication of BBTV was examined, it was found that DNA-S4 enhanced the replication of BBTV. When the replicative capabilities of DNA-S4 and the previously characterised Rep-encoding BBTV satellite, DNA-S1, were compared, it was found that the amount of DNA-S4 accumulated to higher levels than DNA-S1. The interaction between BBTV and DNA-S1 was also examined. It was found that over-expression of the Rep encoded by DNA-S1 using ubi1 maize polyubiquitin promoter enhanced replication of BBTV. However, when the Rep-encoded by DNA-S1 was expressed by the native S1 promoter (in plasmid pBT1.1-S1), it suppressed the replication of BBTV. Based on this result, the use of DNA-S1 as a possible transgene to generate PDR against BBTV was investigated. The roles of the Rep-encoding and U5 genes of BBTV DNA-R, and the effects of over-expression of these two genes on BBTV replication were also investigated. Three mutants of BBTV DNA-R were constructed; plasmid pUbi-RepOnly-nos contained the ubi1 promoter driving Rep expression from DNA-R, plasmid pUbi-IntOnly-nos contained the ubi1 promoter driving expression of the DNA-R internal gene product (U5), while plasmid pUbi-R.ORF-nos contained the ubi1 promoter driving the expression of both Rep and the internal U5 gene product. The replication of BBTV was found to be significantly suppressed by pUbi-RepOnly-nos, weakly suppressed by pUbi-IntOnly-nos, but strongly enhanced by pUbi-R.ORF-nos. The effect of mutations in three conserved residues within the BBTV Rep on BBTV replication was also assessed. These mutations were all made in the regions in the ATPase motifs and resulted in changes from hydrophilic to hydrophobic residues (i.e. K187→M, D224→I and N268→L). None of these Rep mutants was able to initiate BBTV replication. However, over-expression of Reps containing the K187→M or N268→L mutations significantly suppressed the replication of BBTV. In summary, the Rep constructs that significantly suppressed replication of DNA-R and -C in banana embryogenic cell suspensions have the potential to confer resistance against BBTV by interfering with virus replication. It may be concluded that BBTV satellite DNAs are not ideal for conferring PDR because they did not suppress BBTV replication consistently. Wild-type Rep transcripts and mutated (i.e. K187→M and N248→L) Rep proteins of BBTV DNA-R, however, when over-expressed by a strong promoter, are all promising candidates for generating BBTV-resistant banana plants.

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ID Code: 17031
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Harding, Robert, Bateson, Marion, & Dale, James
Keywords: banana bunchy top virus, nanoviruses, replication initiation protein (Rep), pathogen-derived resistance, BBTV DNA-R, BBTV DNA-S1, BBTV DNA-S3, BBTV DNA-S4, satellite DNA, ATPase, post-transcriptional gene silencing, RNA silencing suppressor
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > School of Life Sciences
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 19 Dec 2008 09:54
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 05:51

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