Expression of Separate Proteins in the Same Plant Leaves and Cells Using Two Independent Virus-Based Gene Vectors.
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Plant viral vectors enable the expression of proteins at high levels in a relatively short time. For many purposes (e.g., cell biological interaction studies) it may be desirable to express more than one protein in a single cell but that is often not feasible when using a single virus vector. Such a co-expression strategy requires the simultaneous delivery by two compatible and non-competitive viruses that can co-exist to each express a separate protein. Here, we report on the use of two agro-launchable coat-protein gene substitution GFP-expressing virus vector systems based on Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) referred to as TG, and Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) annotated as TRBO-G. TG expressed GFP in Nicotiana benthamiana, tomato, lettuce and cowpea, whereas expression from TRBO-G was detected only in the first two species. Upon co-infiltration of the two vectors co-expression was monitored by: molecular detection of the two slightly differently sized GFPs, suppressor-complementation assays, and using TG in combination with TRBO-RFP. All the results revealed that in N. benthamiana and tomato the TBSV and TMV vectors accumulated and expressed proteins in the same plants, the same leaves, and in the same cells. Therefore, co-expression by these two vectors provides a platform for fast and high level expression of proteins to study their cell biology or other properties.