Resistance to Sri Lankan Cassava Mosaic Virus (SLCMV) in Genetically Engineered Cassava cv. KU50 through RNA Silencing

Valentine Otang Ntui, Kynet Kong, Raham Sher Khan, Tomoko Igawa, Gnanaguru Janaky Janavi, Ramalingam Rabindran, Ikuo Nakamura, Masahiro Mii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Cassava ranks fifth among the starch producing crops of the world, its annual bioethanol yield is higher than for any other crop. Cassava cultivar KU50, the most widely grown cultivar for non-food purposes is susceptible to Sri Lankan cassava mosaic virus (SLCMV). The objective of this work was to engineer resistance to SLCMV by RNA interference (RNAi) in order to increase biomass yield, an important aspect for bioethanol production. Here, we produced transgenic KU50 lines expressing dsRNA homologous to the region between the AV2 and AV1 of DNA A of SLCMV. High level expression of dsRNA of SLCMV did not induce any growth abnormality in the transgenic plants. Transgenic lines displayed high levels of resistance to SLCMV compared to the wild-type plants and no virus load could be detected in uninoculated new leaves of the infected resistant lines after PCR amplification and RT-PCR analysis. The agronomic performance of the transgenic lines was unimpaired after inoculation with the virus as the plants presented similar growth when compared to the mock inoculated control plants and revealed no apparent reduction in the amount and weight of tubers produced. We show that the resistance is correlated with post-transcriptional gene silencing because of the production of transgene specific siRNA. The results demonstrate that transgenic lines exhibited high levels of resistance to SLCMV. This resistance coupled with the desirable yield components in the transgenic lines makes them better candidates for exploitation in the production of biomass as well as bioethanol.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e0120551
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 22 2015

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KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01


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