Application of virus induced gene silencing of brachypodium distachyon, a model organism for crops

Demircan, Turan
Grass family is most important family in plant kingdom due to intensive usage of crops in agriculture. To date, molecular biology researches on grass family have had limitations because of inappropriate characteristics of barley and wheat to conduct experiments on them. Brachypodium distachyon that belongs to grass family has recently emerged as a model organism for crops. It shares common characteristics for a model plant due to its small genome, small physical plant size, a short lifecycle, and less demanding growth requirements; as other model organisms; Arabidopsis thaliana, Oryza sativa, and Zea mays (Draper et al. 2001). Especially after appreciating, the genetic distance of O. sativa to grasses (Garvin et al. 2008), it become a key organism to understand complicated genomic organization of agriculturally valuable grasses. Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) is one of the revolutionary methods allowing a rapid and effective loss of a gene function through RNA interference (Holzberg et al. 2002; Liu et al. 2008). Barley stripe mosaic virus (BSMV) is still the most effective vector used in monocot gene silencing. It has a tripartite RNA genome having a wide range of infection ability for monocots including barley, oat, wheat, and maize as host (Holzberg et al. 2002; Scofield 2005). In this thesis, Phytoene desaturase (PDS) gene of Brachypodium distachyon was silenced via BSMV mediated VIGS. Additionally, with Green fluorescence protein (GFP) bearing BSMV transcripts, GFP expression was observed under fluorescent microscope. To our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating a VIGS via BSMV in Brachypodium distachyon. The success of virus induced gene silencing method in Brachypodium distachyon, will be a new convenient tool for evaluating functions of crop genes in this model organism.


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Citation Formats
T. Demircan, “Application of virus induced gene silencing of brachypodium distachyon, a model organism for crops,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2009.