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Project TitlePotyvirus Resistance Genes (D3124 & D3942)
Track Code3124
Short Description

This invention provides nucleic acid molecule and methods of imparting virus resistance to plants. It provides a means to generate potatoes that are resistant to potyvirus.



Potato is the fourth most important crop grown today. Current varieties are susceptible to diseases which can dramatically reduce production.  Potyviruses are highly destructive plant viruses comprising approximately 30% of all known viruses to affect agriculture. Potato virus Y, in particular, is a widespread pathogen for the crop that resulted in significant losses.


Cornell inventors have identified the recessive resistance gene to potyviruses in pepper, the translation initiation factor elF4E, and created mutations in the natural susceptible elF4E gene from potato to generate resistant alleles. Potato lines that are resistant to various potyviruses have been generated using mutated genes from potato.


Potential Applications

Confering resistance to potyviruses in crops.



  • Past approaches to generate transgenic potyvirus resistant potatoes have used pathogen-derived sequences to generate commercially unappealing "transgenic" plants, here inventors have used a plant gene itself to confer resistance and are thus "intragenic"
  • Use of insecticides have been ineffective in controlling the virus
  • By genetically engineering a potato to be virus resistant that is more culturally acceptable, this invention will likely generate practical varieties for commercialization.


TECHNICAL MERIT: elF4E is a translation initiation factor that recruits the ribosomal complex to translate the plant's genes. For potyvirus to infect a plant, the viral protein, VPg, interacts with elF4E, essentially hijacking the plants translation machinery to produce viral proteins. This interaction also increases viral gene replication and cell-to-cell movement of the virus, increasing the overall viral infection. Mutations in elF4E gene from potato have been generated that prevent VPg from binding elF4E and thus prevent viral infection. To date researchers have successfully produced several alleles and have confirmed resistance in some potato lines.

Tagsagriculture, disease resistance, life science, Plant Genetics & Molecular Biology
Posted DateJul 23, 2012 3:50 PM


Byoung-Cheorl Kang
Margaret Jahn
James Frantz

Additional Information

U.S. patent 7,772,462

Licensing Contact

Jeff Fearn


File Name Description
Technology Brief D3124 & D3942 Potyvirus Resistance Download