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International Journal of Plant Genomics
Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 198680, 8 pages
Review Article

Virus-Induced Gene Silencing, a Post Transcriptional Gene Silencing Method

1Biological Sciences & Bioengineering Program, Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Sabanci University, Orhanli, Tuzla, Turkey
2Kocaeli University, Arslanbey MYO, Izmit, Turkey

Received 1 December 2008; Accepted 30 March 2009

Academic Editor: Chunji Liu

Copyright © 2009 Turgay Unver and Hikmet Budak. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) is one of the reverse genetics tools for analysis of gene function that uses viral vectors carrying a target gene fragment to produce dsRNA which trigger RNA-mediated gene silencing. There are a number of viruses which have been modified to silence the gene of interest effectively with a sequence-specific manner. Therefore, different types of methodologies have been advanced and modified for VIGS approach. Virus-derived inoculations are performed on host plants using different methods such as agro-infiltration and in vitro transcriptions. VIGS has many advantages compared to other loss-of-gene function approaches. The approach provides the generation of rapid phenotype and no need for plant transformation. The cost of VIGS experiment is relatively low, and large-scale analysis of screening studies can be achieved by the VIGS. However, there are still limitations of VIGS to be overcome. Nowadays, many virus-derived vectors are optimized to silence more than one host plant such as TRV-derived viral vectors which are used for Arabidopsis and Nicothiana benthamiana. By development of viral silencing systems monocot plants can also be targeted as silencing host in addition to dicotyledonous plants. For instance, Barley stripe mosaic virus (BSMV)-mediated VIGS allows silencing of barley and wheat genes. Here we summarize current protocols and recent modified viral systems to lead silencing of genes in different host species.