Virus Inducible Switch

Case ID:

This invention describes a novel platform to control expression of specific plant genes with viruses.

When many plants are challenged with a viral infection, one of the primary defense mechanisms they have evolved is to deploy the use of plant RNA silencing pathways to control gene expression. Likewise, viruses have co-evolved to evade this mechanism with viral suppressors of RNA silencing.  

In this technology, the inventors propose the use of a novel system that uses these defense mechanisms in plants to create a modular switch that can be attached to any gene of interest in a plant and can be controlled by the presence of a virus. The proposed Virus Inducible Switch (VIS) design is based on artificial miRNA regulation of messenger RNA (mRNA) by targeting synthetic 5’ and 3’ untranslated regions (UTRs) of any mRNA.


  • Gene regulating system with wide-ranging life sciences research applications
  • Plant gene regulating with wide-ranging agricultural applications such as disease monitoring and control


  • Expression can be controlled with a virus-inducible switch
  • Uses existing plant mechanisms
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Tod McCauley
Assistant Director of Licensing, CALS
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Judith Brown
Cory Keith
Mark Beilstein