skip to primary navigationskip to content

Notes for users of the PVX expression vectors

The plasmid pP2C2S is a PVX expression vector in which the cloning sites are between the ClaI and SalI sites of the enclosed sequence. There is also an EcoRV site that can be used for cloning of blunt ended sequences. We shall soon make available modified plasmids with larger polylinkers for insertion of novel genes. We do have infectious DNA plasmids but these give greater problems with stability of the newly inserted gene. I am therefore reluctant to pass them out.

The DNA should be grown in a dam- strain so that the ClaI site can be cut efficiently. You will need to linearise the plasmid with SpeI (preferably) or other adjacent unique sites before transcription.

The inserted sequence should be as short as possible. The longest gene that we have expressed successfully is GUS. The one other gene that is larger that we have tried was 3.5kb. The virus was not infectious with this long insert. We try to design our constructs so that the initiation codon of the introduced gene is in a reasonable context but I am not convinced that it is crucial. I think that there is some sequence dependent effect on the stability of the inserted sequence.

We normally do our experiments by inoculation of transcripts or DNA (for 35S PVX constructs) to N.clevelandii or N. benthamiana. We use an extract of the inoculated plants for subsequent passage to the experimental material although it is prudent to check the extract for presence of wild type virus before inoculating hundreds of plants: if you take the extract from the transcript inoculated plants within 10d of inoculation you should find (depending on your insert) that the PVX is predominantly the recombinant form. Extracts taken later will have progressively more of the wild type PVX due to loss of the novel gene by recombination. This intrinsic instability of the system is a limitation but, from the other side, is an asset providing a degree of biological containment.


Chapman, S., Kavanagh, T.A. and Baulcombe, D.C. (1992) Potato virus X as a vector for gene expression in plants. Plant J. 2, 549-557.

Baulcombe, D.C., Chapman, S. and Santa Cruz, S. (1995) Jellyfish green fluorescent protein as a reporter for virus infections. Plant J. 7, 1045-1053.

Hammond-Kosack, K.E., Staskawicz, B.J., Jones, J.D.G. and Baulcombe, D.C. (1995) Functional expression of a fungal avirulence gene from a modified potato virus X genome. Mol.Plant-Microbe Interact. 8, 181-185.

Rommens, C.M.T., Salmeron, J.M., Baulcombe, D.C. and Staskawicz, B.J. (1995) Use of a gene expression system based on potato virus X to rapidly identify and characterize a tomato pto homolog that controls fenthion sensitivity. Plant Cell 7, 249-257.

Sablowski, R.W.M., Baulcombe, D.C. and Bevan, M. (1995) Expression of a flower-specific Myb protein in leaf cells using a viral vector causes ectopic activation of a target promoter. Proc.Natl.Acad.Sci.USA 92, 6901-6905.


The Department has carried out a comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessment process and has opened to allow research work to take place. To ensure the safety of our staff, a range of measures to reduce building occupancy and allow strict social distancing have been introduced, including increased cleaning and hygiene regimes. We are currently not accepting visitors so please continue to contact us by email until further notice.