Transgenic plum plants expressing the papaya ringspot virus (PRV) coat protein (CP) were produced by Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of hypocotyl slices. Hypocotyl slices were cocultivated with Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain C58/Z707 containing the plasmid pGA482GG/CPPRV-4. This plasmid carries the PRVCP gene construct and chimeric NPTII and GUS genes. Shoots were regenerated on Murashige and Skoog salts, vitamins, 2% sucrose, 2.5 μm indolebutyric acid, 7.5 μm thidiazuron, and appropriate antibiotics for selection. Integration of the foreign genes was verified through kanamycin resistance, GUS assays, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and Southern blot analyses. Four transgenic clones were identified. Three were vegetatively propagated and graft-inoculated with plum pox virus (PPV)-infected budwood in a quarantine, containment greenhouse. PPV infection was evaluated over a 2- to 4-year period through visual symptoms, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and reverse transcriptase PCR assays. While most plants showed signs of infection and systemic spread of PPV within l-6 months, one plant appeared to delay the spread of virus and the appearance of disease symptoms. Virus spread was limited to basal portions of this plant up to 19 months postinoculation, but, after 32 months symptoms were evident and virus was detected throughout the plant. Our results suggest that heterologous protection with PRVCP, while having the potential to delay PPV symptoms and spread throughout plum plants, may not provide an adequate level of long-term resistance.
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