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Transformation of potatoes with the potato leafroll virus coat protein gene.

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Potato leafroll virus (PLRV) is one of the most destructive potato viruses in South Africa. In order to establish resistance against PLRV in commercial potato cultivars, the coat protein (CP) gene of the virus was previously isolated, cloned and subcloned into the plant expression vector pBI121 in both the sense and antisense orientations (BURGER, unpublished results). The pBI121 constructs containing the PLRV-CP gene were subsequently transferred to Agrobacterium tumefaciens LBA 4404 in a triparental mating process with the helper plasmid pRK2013. Two A. tumefaciens- mediated transformation methods for potatoes were investigated, viz. vacuum infiltration and leaf disk transformation. In addition, optimal transformation and regeneration conditions were identified for potato cultivars Late Harvest and BP[1] In total, 27 transgenic potato lines containing the PLRV-CP, β-glucoronidase (GUS) and nptII (neomycin phosphotransferase II) trans genes were generated under kanamycin selection. Transgenic plants grown in the glasshouse appeared to be phenotypically normal, and no differences in ploidy level in comparison to non-transformed plants could be established. Stable transgene insertion into the genome of the transgenic plants was verified using PCR and Southern blot analysis. Expression of the GUS transgene was investigated using a fluorometric assay (JEFFERSON et al. 1987), and it was found that orientation of the inserted PLRV-CP gene upstream from the GUS gene had a direct influence on the levels of GUS expression. The expression of the PLRV-CP gene was analysed using DAS-ELISA and immunoblot detection. Coat protein could not be detected in either assay. RNA dot blots were used successfully to show PLRV-CP expression in transgenic potato plants at the mRNA level.


Thesis (M.Sc.)-University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 1995.


Potatoes--Diseases and pests., Transgenic plants., Potatoes--Genetic engineering., Theses--Botany.