An endogenous regulator of RNA silencing in plants


Reference #: 00454

Invention Description:

The subject technology is a technique or method for altering gene expression in plants by regulating an endogenous mechanism called RNA silencing (or RNA interference-RNAi). A certain transcription factor was discovered which, when overexpressed, delays the onset of RNA silencing, thus allowing longer expression of the silenced gene. Conversely, when the expression of this same transcription factor is decreased by various means, the plants silence more rapidly and more effectively. This invention includes the identification of a tobacco protein (termed ntRAV) that interacts with a plant viral suppressor of silencing, called helper component proteinase (HC-Pro), in the yeast two-hybrid system. NtRAV is related to the Arabidopsis RAV family of transcription factors. The ntRAV/HC-Pro interaction raised the possibility that ntRAV plays a role in HC-Pro suppression of silencing.

Advantages and Benefits:

The technology unlocks critical RNA silencing information on tobacco.

Present state of development

Overexpression of this particular transcription factor delays the onset of silencing in transgenic tobacco. Knockdown of expression of the transcription factor in tobacco enhances silencing, allowing silencing to occur more rapidly and more effectively. Knockout of a related transcription factor in Arabidosis also enhances RNA silencing. There is no developmental phenotype associated with altered expression of the transcription factor. Preliminary data suggests that knockout of the gene encoding this transcription factor may eliminate the ability of the viral suppressor of silencing termed HC-Pro to block RNA silencing.

Potential Applications:

RNA silencing-based resistance is a powerful tool that can be used to engineer resistant crops. RNA silencing can produce plants that are resistant to plant viruses such as RNA and DNA viruses, viroids, insects, and the recent expansion of fungal pathogens.

Patent Information:
Title App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date Patent Status
An endogenous regulator of RNA silencing in plants PCT United States PCT/US2005/019400   6/2/2005      
An endogenous regulator of RNA silencing in plants Nationalized PCT United States 11/921,385 8,735,653 11/30/2007 5/27/2014 12/22/2029  
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
Vicki Vance
Lewis Bowman
Matthew Endres
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