An antisense coat protein gene confers immunity to potato leafroll virus in a genetically engineered potato

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The Bzura commercial potato cultivar was transformed by sense or antisense constructs which included the coat protein gene of potato leafroll virus RNA. In the sense construct, the coat protein gene was preceded by a leader sequence shorter than that in the subgenomic RNA formed in infected cells. The antisense construct consisted of a sequence complementary to the first 2020 nucleotides of the subgenomic RNA. Selected transformants expressing viral RNA were resistant to virus challenge by viruliferous aphids. In one line, expression of the antisense RNA prevented virus infection even after grafting with scions from infected plants and therefore this transformant might be regarded as virus immune.

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