Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Near immunity to rice tungro spherical virus achieved in rice by a replicase-mediated resistance strategy.

Abstract

Rice tungro disease is caused by rice tungro bacilliform virus (RTBV), which is responsible for the symptoms, and rice tungro spherical virus (RTSV), which assists transmission of both viruses by leafhoppers. Transgenic japonica rice plants were produced containing the RTSV replicase (Rep) gene in the sense or antisense orientation. Over 70% of the plants contained one to five copies of the Rep gene, with integration occurring at a single locus in most cases. Plants producing antisense sequences exhibited significant but moderate resistance to RTSV (60%); accumulation of antisense RNA was substantial, indicating that the protection was not of the homology-dependent type. Plants expressing the full-length Rep gene, as well as a truncated Rep gene, in the sense orientation were 100% resistant to RTSV even when challenged with a high level of inoculum. Accumulation of viral RNA was low, leading us to conclude that RTSV Rep-mediated resistance is not protein-mediated but is of the cosuppression type. Resistance was effective against geographically distinct RTSV isolates (from different areas of Malaysia). In addition, RTSV-resistant transgenic rice plants were unable to assist transmission of RTBV. Such transgenic plants could be used in an epidemiological approach to combat the spread of the tungro disease.