Optimization of virus-induced gene silencing in pepper (Capsicum annuum L.).

Research paper by J-E JE Wang, D-W DW Li, Z-H ZH Gong, Y-L YL Zhang

Indexed on: 28 Aug '13Published on: 28 Aug '13Published in: Genetics and molecular research : GMR


Virus-induced gene silencing is currently a powerful tool for the study of gene function in plants. Here, we optimized the protocol for virus-induced gene silencing, and investigated factors that affect the efficiency of tobacco rattle virus-induced gene silencing in pepper plants. Consequently, an optimal protocol was obtained by the syringe-infiltration method in the leaves of pepper plants. The protocol involves 2-leaf stage plants, preparing the Agrobacterium inoculum at a final OD600 of 1.0 and then growing the inoculated plants at 22°C. Using this protocol, we achieved high efficiency in silencing CaPDS in different cultivars of pepper plants. We further used the CaPOD gene to illustrate the general reliability of this optimized protocol. Viral symptoms were observed on the leaves of inoculated plants of the Early Calwonder cultivar 25 days post-inoculation, indicating that this protocol can also be used to silence other genes in pepper plants. Real-time polymerase chain reaction analyses revealed that the expression levels of CaPDS and CaPOD were dramatically reduced in inoculated leaves compared to control plants. These results demonstrate that the optimized protocol can be applied to functional genomic studies in pepper to investigate genes involved in a wide range of biological processes.