The lack of naturally occurring resistance to citrus psorosis virus (CPsV) necessitates a transgenic approach for the development of CPsV-resistant citrus.

To evaluate the feasibility of conferring resistance to a non-transgenic scion, we have assembled citrus plants by grafting combining a non-transgenic Sweet Orange as scion, CPsV-resistant transgenic Sweet Orange lines expressing intron-hairpin (ihp) RNA derived from the viral coat protein (ihpCP) as interstock, and a non-transgenic citrus as rootstock. We demonstrated that ihpCP-transcripts translocate through the graft from interstock to scion, triggering the silencing of coat protein mRNA target. Two independent CPsV challenge assays showed that expression of ihpCP in the interstock provides resistance against CPsV in the interstock, and different levels of protection in the non-tg scion, depending of the virus delivery site. These results indicated that grafting is a promising biotechnological alternative to protect woody plants against virus infections in vegetative propagated plants.