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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2005 Apr;8(2):216-22.

RNA silencing and antiviral defense in plants.

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  • 1CSIRO Plant Industry, PO Box 1600, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.


Much progress has been made recently in identifying the molecular components of RNA silencing in plants, and in understanding their roles in the biogenesis of small interfering RNAs and microRNAs, in RNA-directed DNA methylation, and in RNA-mediated antiviral defense. However, many crucial questions remain unanswered. What are the molecular bases of sense and antisense transgene-mediated silencing? Why does silencing only appear to spread through transgenes? Plant viruses encode silencing suppressors to counteract host RNA silencing, and some of these suppressors affect microRNA accumulation and function and hence normal plant development. Is viral pathogenicity determined, partly or entirely, by their silencing suppressor activity?

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