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J Virol. 2010 Mar;84(5):2477-89. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02336-09. Epub 2009 Dec 16.

RNA-dependent RNA polymerase 6 delays accumulation and precludes meristem invasion of a viroid that replicates in the nucleus.

Author information

  • 1Istituto di Virologia Vegetale (CNR), Unità Organizzativa di Bari, Via Amendola 165/A, Bari, Italy.

Erratum in

  • J Virol. 2010 Jun;84(11):5846.

Abstract

The detection of viroid-derived small RNAs (vd-sRNAs) similar to the small interfering RNAs (siRNAs, 21 to 24 nucleotides [nt]) in plants infected by nuclear-replicating members of the family Pospiviroidae (type species, Potato spindle tuber viroid [PSTVd]) indicates that they are inducers and targets of the RNA-silencing machinery of their hosts. RNA-dependent RNA polymerase 6 (RDR6) catalyzes an amplification circuit producing the double-stranded precursors of secondary siRNAs. Recently, the role of RDR6 in restricting systemic spread of certain RNA viruses and precluding their invasion of the apical growing tip has been documented using RDR6-silenced Nicotiana benthamiana (NbRDR6i) plants. Here we show that RDR6 is also engaged in regulating PSTVd levels: accumulation of PSTVd genomic RNA was increased in NbRDR6i plants with respect to the wild-type controls (Nbwt) early in infection, whereas this difference decreased or disappeared in later infection stages. Moreover, in situ hybridization revealed that RDR6 is involved in restricting PSTVd access in floral and vegetative meristems, thus providing firm genetic evidence for an antiviroid RNA silencing mechanism. RNA gel blot hybridization and deep sequencing showed in wt and RDR6i backgrounds that PSTVd sRNAs (i) accumulate to levels paralleling their genomic RNA, (ii) display similar patterns with prevailing 22- or 21-nt plus-strand species, and (iii) adopt strand-specific hot spot profiles along the genomic RNA. Therefore, the surveillance mechanism restraining entry of some RNA viruses into meristems likely also controls PSTVd access in N. benthamiana. Unexpectedly, deep sequencing also disclosed in NbRDR6i plants a profile of RDR6-derived siRNA dominated by 21-nt plus-strand species mapping within a narrow window of the hairpin RNA stem expressed transgenically for silencing RDR6, indicating that minus-strand siRNAs silencing the NbRDR6 mRNA represent a minor fraction of the total siRNA population.

PMID:
20015979
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2820905
Free PMC Article

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