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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2005 Aug;8(4):415-23.

The complex interplay between plant viruses and host RNA-silencing pathways.

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  • 1Institut de Biologie Mol├ęculaire des Plantes, CNRS UPR2357, Strasbourg, France.


RNA silencing was originally identified as an immune system targeted against transposons and viruses, but is now also recognized as a major regulatory process that affects all layers of host gene expression through the activities of various small RNA species. Recent work in plants and animals indicates that viruses not only suppress, but can also exploit, endogenous RNA silencing pathways to redirect host gene expression. There are also indications that cellular, as opposed to virus-derived small RNAs, might well constitute an unsuspected defense layer against foreign nucleic acids. This complex interplay has implications in the context of disease resistance and evolution of viral genomes.

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