Interference between coinoculated viroids

Andrea D. Branch, Bonnie J. Benenfeld, Elizabeth R. Franck, J. F. Shaw, Mariet Lee Varban, Kerry K. Willis, Dianne L. Rosen, Hugh D. Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Experiments were carried out to seek evidence of an interaction between two viroid RNAs introduced to tomato plants in the same inoculum. At the level of symptom expression, the severe isolate of potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTV) dominated the mild isolate. Seventy-five percent of the plants inoculated with a 100-fold excess of the mild isolate developed unattenuated symptoms of severe disease. Other experiments revealed that infectious RNA molecules transcribed from cloned DNA templates containing PSTV sequences reduced the level of hop stunt viroid (HSV) RNA present in nucleic acid extracts of plants which had been inoculated with a mixture of dimeric plus-strand transcripts of these two viroids. Plants inoculated with dual transcripts-containing two copies of PSTV linked to two copies of HSV-developed characteristic symptoms of severe PSTV. Dot hybridization demonstrated that only PSTV replicated to detectable levels in these plants. A likely interpretation of these results is that the HSV portion of the dual transcripts failed to replicate because of interference from PSTV. These results raise questions about how the process of viroid replication is related to symptom expression, and lead to suggested models for the effect of viroid-like RNAs in cells under both normal and pathogenic circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)538-546
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1988
Externally publishedYes


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