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Article|18 Jan 2022|OPEN
Horticultural innovation by viral-induced gene regulation of carotenogenesis
Lucky Paudel1 , Stephanie Kerr2,3 , Peter Prentis2,3 , Milos Tanurd ˇ ziˇ c4 and Alexie Papanicolaou1 , Jonathan M. Plett1 , Christopher I. Cazzonelli,1,5 ,
1Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith NSW 2751, Australia
2Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy (CAB), Queensland University of Technology, 2 George Street, Brisbane City, QLD 4000, Australia
3School of Biology and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Queensland University of Technology, 2 George Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000, Australia
4School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
5The author responsible for the distribution of materials integral to the findings presented in this article is: Christopher Cazzonelli.
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Horticulture Research 9,
Article number: uhab008 (2022)
Views: 177

Received: 18 May 2021
Revised: 31 Aug 2021
Accepted: 24 Sep 2021
Published online: 18 Jan 2022


Multipartite viral vectors provide a simple, inexpensive and effective biotechnological tool to transiently manipulate (i.e. reduce or increase) gene expression in planta and characterise the function of genetic traits. The development of virus-induced gene regulation (VIGR) systems usually involve the targeted silencing or overexpression of genes involved in pigment biosynthesis or degradation in plastids, thereby providing rapid visual assessment of success in establishing RNA- or DNA-based VIGR systems in planta. Carotenoids pigments provide plant tissues with an array of yellow, orange, and pinkish-red colours. VIGR-induced transient manipulation of carotenoid-related gene expression has advanced our understanding of carotenoid biosynthesis, regulation, accumulation and degradation, as well as plastid signalling processes. In this review, we describe mechanisms of VIGR, the importance of carotenoids as visual markers of technology development, and knowledge gained through manipulating carotenogenesis in model plants as well as horticultural crops not always amenable to transgenic approaches. We outline how VIGR can be utilised in plants to fast-track the characterisation of gene function(s), accelerate fruit tree breeding programs, edit genomes, and biofortify plant products enriched in carotenoid micronutrients for horticultural innovation.