In an effort to study sequence space allowing the recovery of viable potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) variants we have developed an selection (Selex) method to produce and bulk-inoculate by agroinfiltration large PSTVd cDNA banks in which a short stretch of the genome is mutagenized to saturation. This technique was applied to two highly conserved 6 nt-long regions of the PSTVd genome, the left terminal loop (TL bank) and part of the polypurine stretch in the upper strand of pre-melting loop 1 (PM1 bank). In each case, PSTVd accumulation was observed in a large fraction of bank-inoculated tomato plants. Characterization of the progeny molecules showed the recovery of the parental PSTVd sequence in 89 % (TL bank) and 18 % (PM1 bank) of the analysed plants. In addition, viable and genetically stable PSTVd variants with mutations outside of the known natural variability of PSTVd were recovered in both cases, although at different rates. In the case of the TL region, mutations were recovered at five of the six mutagenized positions (357, 358, 359, 1 and 3 of the genome) while for the PM1 region mutations were recovered at all six targeted positions (50–55), providing significant new insight on the plasticity of the PSTVd genome.


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vol. , part 2, pp. 457 - 466

Accumulation of PSTVd in cv. 'Rutgers' tomato plants

Accumulation of PSTVd-PM1 mutants and PSTVd-S23 in cv. 'Rutgers' tomato plants [Single PDF file](467 KB)



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