Nanobody-mediated resistance to Grapevine fanleaf virus in plants

Plant Biotechnol J. 2018 Feb;16(2):660-671. doi: 10.1111/pbi.12819. Epub 2017 Oct 6.


Since their discovery, single-domain antigen-binding fragments of camelid-derived heavy-chain-only antibodies, also known as nanobodies (Nbs), have proven to be of outstanding interest as therapeutics against human diseases and pathogens including viruses, but their use against phytopathogens remains limited. Many plant viruses including Grapevine fanleaf virus (GFLV), a nematode-transmitted icosahedral virus and causal agent of fanleaf degenerative disease, have worldwide distribution and huge burden on crop yields representing billions of US dollars of losses annually, yet solutions to combat these viruses are often limited or inefficient. Here, we identified a Nb specific to GFLV that confers strong resistance to GFLV upon stable expression in the model plant Nicotiana benthamiana and also in grapevine rootstock, the natural host of the virus. We showed that resistance was effective against a broad range of GFLV isolates independently of the inoculation method including upon nematode transmission but not against its close relative, Arabis mosaic virus. We also demonstrated that virus neutralization occurs at an early step of the virus life cycle, prior to cell-to-cell movement. Our findings will not only be instrumental to confer resistance to GFLV in grapevine, but more generally they pave the way for the generation of novel antiviral strategies in plants based on Nbs.

Keywords: GMO; grapevine; nanobodies; nepovirus; plant virus; single-chain antibodies; transgenic plant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Nepovirus / pathogenicity
  • Plant Diseases / immunology*
  • Plant Diseases / virology*
  • Plant Viruses / genetics
  • Plant Viruses / physiology
  • Single-Domain Antibodies / genetics
  • Single-Domain Antibodies / physiology


  • Single-Domain Antibodies

Supplementary concepts

  • Grapevine fanleaf virus