Constitutive expression of interferon-induced human MxA protein in transgenic tobacco plants does not confer resistance to a variety of RNA viruses

M. Frese, M. Prins, A. Ponten, R. W. Goldbach, O. Haller, P. Zeltz

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MxA is a key component in the interferon-induced antiviral defense in humans. After viral infections, MxA is rapidly induced and accumulates in the cytoplasm. The multiplication of many RNA viruses, including all bunyaviruses tested so far, is inhibited by MxA. These findings prompted us to express MxA in plants in an attempt to create resistance to tospoviruses. Here, we report the generation of transgenic tobacco plants that constitutively express MxA under the control of the 35 S cauliflower mosaic virus promotor. Northern and western blot analysis confirmed the expression of MxA in several transgenic plant lines. MxA expression had no obvious detrimental effects on plant growth and fertility. However, challenge experiments with tomato spotted wilt virus, tomato chlorotic spot virus, and groundnut ringspot virus revealed no increased resistance of MxA-transgenic tobacco plants to tospovirus infections. Neither was the multiplication of tobacco mosaic virus, cucumber mosaic virus and potato vires Y inhibited in MxA-transgenic plants. The results indicate that the expression of human MxA alone does not enhance virus resistance in planta.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-438
Number of pages10
JournalTransgenic Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2000


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