Restoration of wild-type virus by double recombination of tombusvirus mutants with a host transgene. Academic Article uri icon


  • Nicotiana benthamiana plants transformed with the coat protein gene of tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) failed to elicit effective virus resistance when inoculated with wildtype virus. Subsequently, R1 and R2 progeny from 13 transgenic lines were inoculated with a TBSV mutant containing a defective coat protein gene. Mild symptoms typical of those elicited in nontransformed plants infected with the TBSV mutant initially appeared. However, within 2 to 4 weeks, up to 20% of the transgenic plants sporadically began to develop the lethal syndrome characteristic of wild-type virus infections. RNA hybridization and immunoblot analyses of these plants and nontransformed N. benthamiana inoculated with virus from the transgenic lines indicated that wild-type virus had been regenerated by a double recombination event between the defective virus and the coat protein transgene. Similar results were obtained with a TBSV deletion mutant containing a nucleotide sequence marker, and with a chimeric cucumber necrosis virus (CNV) containing the defective TBSV coat protein gene. In both cases, purified virions contained wild-type TBSV RNA or CNV chimeric RNA derived by recombination with the transgenic coat protein mRNA. These results thus demonstrate that recombinant tombus-viruses can arise frequently from viral genes expressed in transgenic plants.

published proceedings

  • Mol Plant Microbe Interact

altmetric score

  • 12.016

author list (cited authors)

  • Borja, M., Rubio, T., Scholthof, H. B., & Jackson, A. O.

citation count

  • 63

complete list of authors

  • Borja, M||Rubio, T||Scholthof, HB||Jackson, AO

publication date

  • February 1999