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Genetics. 2005 Feb;169(2):607-17. Epub 2004 Nov 15.

RNA silencing in Aspergillus nidulans is independent of RNA-dependent RNA polymerases.

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Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


The versatility of RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RDRPs) in eukaryotic gene silencing is perhaps best illustrated in the kingdom Fungi. Biochemical and genetic studies of Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Neurospora crassa show that these types of enzymes are involved in a number of fundamental gene-silencing processes, including heterochromatin regulation and RNA silencing in S. pombe and meiotic silencing and RNA silencing in N. crassa. Here we show that Aspergillus nidulans, another model fungus, does not require an RDRP for inverted repeat transgene (IRT)-induced RNA silencing. However, RDRP requirements may vary within the Aspergillus genus as genomic analysis indicates that A. nidulans, but not A. fumigatus or A. oryzae, has lost a QDE-1 ortholog, an RDRP associated with RNA silencing in N. crassa. We also provide evidence suggesting that 5' --> 3' transitive RNA silencing is not a significant aspect of A. nidulans IRT-RNA silencing. These results indicate a lack of conserved kingdom-wide requirements for RDRPs in fungal RNA silencing.

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