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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Crop Production and Pest Control Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #234632

Title: Resources for Virus-Induced Gene Silencing (VIGS) in the Grasses

item Scofield, Steven - Steve

Submitted to: Plant Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/6/2008
Publication Date: 1/10/2009
Citation: Scofield, S.R., Nelson, R. 2009. Resources for Virus-Induced Gene Silencing (VIGS) in the Grasses. Plant Physiology. 149:152-157.

Interpretive Summary: The grass family of plants includes almost all of the most important crops for human nutrition. Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) is a powerful tool for determining gene function in plants. Recent efforts have made it possible to begin to utilize VIGS for the functional identification of agriculturally important genes in grass crops. This article describes the properties and limitations of the currently available VIGS tools for use in grass species and discusses the possibilities of future improved VIGS tools.

Technical Abstract: Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) is an important tool that permits the rapid knockdown of plant gene expression to determine their function. To initiate VIGS, a transcript of a viral construct carrying a fragment of a plant gene is used to infect a plant. Viral infection triggers a conserved, RNA-based, plant antiviral defense pathway that results in sequence-specific degradation of the entire viral RNA sequence, including the inserted plant gene fragment. The plant gene mRNA from which the viral insert was derived also is targeted for degradation, resulting in host gene silencing. Unfortunately, only a few combinations of viruses and hosts result in effective VIGS for functional genomics applications. Very recently, useful VIGS tools have become available for use in the Poaceae. Here the properties of the existing VIGS tools for grasses are described and their uses and limitations are discussed.