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  European Commission   > Research > Key Action 5
index by sub-area 5.1.1. Sustainable agriculture/Animal Systems
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Engineering durable pathogen resistance in grapevine: a novel strategy for integrated disease management to overcome environmental impacts of pesticides *

Contract nr: QLRT-CT-2000-01183
Project type: RS (Research and Technological Development Project)
Starting date:
Duration: 48 months
Total cost: 1,507,163 EUR
EC Contribution: 1,424,663 EUR
Scientific Officer:
Research topic: 5.1.1. Sustainable agriculture/Animal Systems

Grapevine is one of the major horticulture crops grown in temperate climates that is exposed to attacks from a variety of pathogens, including viruses. Viruses cause heavy crop losses, costing several millions of euros per year, requiring the development of novel approaches for disease control. We plan to achieve this by the expression of virus inactivating recombinant antibodies. This novel approach will generate biologically safe, virus-resistant plants. Based on their economic importance for viticulture, we will focus on the Nepoviruses GFLV and ArMV as well as on the Closteroviruses GLRaV-2 and GLRaV-3. Recombinant antibodies will be generated by phage display to specifically recognise and inactivate key viral proteins. This will reduce the use of environmentally unfriendly, undesirable chemical controls that are currently the only effective method for protecting vineyards from pathogen attack.

This proposal is aimed at generating rootstocks and grapevine varieties that show sustainable resistance against viruses. This will be achieved by expression of recombinant antibodies specifically binding to and inactivating viral proteins from selected Nepo- and Closteroviruses. Proof of the principle demonstrating antibody-mediated pathogen resistance will be evaluated in tobacco, followed by transgenic rootstocks and grapevine. In Europe, grapevine plants are grafted on to a rootstock to assemble a whole plant. Nematodes, the vectors of Nepoviruses, only infest the roots of a plant and therefore Nepovirus resistance is only required for the production of rootstocks. Thus, Nepovirus-specific scFvs will be transformed only into rootstocks. Closteroviruses are transmitted by aerial vectors that do not attack rootstocks. Therefore, Closterovirus-specific scFvs will be transformed into the grapevine and not expressed in the rootstock.

Burkhard RAUHUT
Rwth-Aachen, Institute for Biology
Tel.: +49 241804114
Fax: +49 2418888106

  Hans-Joerg BOEHM
Montemor o Novo
Tel.: +351 266899260
Fax: +351 266899261
  Hans-Peter LORENZ
Centrum Gruene Gentechnik, Staatliche Lehr- und Forschungsanstalt für Landwirtschaft, Weinbau und Gartenbau
Tel.: +49 6321671201
Fax: +49 6321671222
  Aldo COSSU
Università degli Studi di Bari, Dipartimento di protezione delle piante e microbiologia applicata
Tel.: +39 0805714148
Fax: +39 0805714697