3 years ago

Suppression of cotton leaf curl disease symptoms in Gossypium hirsutum through over expression of host-encoded miRNAs

Cotton leaf curl disease (CLCuD), a major factor resulting in the enormous yield losses in cotton crop, is caused by a distinct monopartite begomovirus in association with Cotton leaf curl Multan betasatellite (CLCuMB). Micro(mi)RNAs are known to regulate gene expression in eukaryotes, including antiviral defense in plants. In a previous study, we had computationally identified a set of cotton miRNAs, which were shown to have potential targets in the genomes of Cotton leaf curl Multan virus (CLCuMuV) and CLCuMB at multiple loci. In the current study, effect of Gossypium arboreum-encoded miRNAs on the genome of CLCuMuV and CLCuMB was investigated in planta. Two computationally predicted cotton-encoded miRNAs (miR398 and miR2950) that showed potential to bind multiple Open Reading Frames (ORFs; C1, C4, V1, and non- coding intergenic region) of CLCuMuV, and (βC1) of CLCuMB were selected. Functional validation of miR398 and miR2950 was done by overexpression approach in G. hirsutum var. HS6. A total of ten in vitro cotton plants were generated from independent events and subjected to biological and molecular analyses. Presence of the respective Precursor (pre)-miRNA was confirmed through PCR and Southern blotting, and their expression level was assessed by semi quantitative RT-PCR, Real Time quantitative PCR and northern hybridization in the PCR-positive lines. Southern hybridization revealed 2–4 copy integration of T-DNA in the genome of the transformed lines. Remarkably, expression of pre-miRNAs was shown up to 5.8-fold higher in the transgenic (T0) lines as revealed by Real Time PCR. The virus resistance was monitored following inoculation of the transgenic cotton lines with viruliferous whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) insect vector. After inoculation, four of the transgenic lines remained apparently symptom free. While a very low titre of viral DNA could be detected by Rolling circle amplification, betasatellite responsible for symptom induction could not be detected in any of the healthy looking transgenic lines. In this study for the first time, efficacy of the host (G. arboreum)-encoded miRNAs against CLCuD symptoms was experimentally demonstrated through overexpression of miR398 and miR2950 in G. hirsutum var. HS6 plants. Computational prediction of miRNAs targeting virus genome and their subsequent implication in translational inhibition or cleavage based suppression of viral mRNA via overexpression could help in generating virus resistant plants.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0168165617316887

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