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Trends Plant Sci. 2008 Jul;13(7):317-28. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2008.05.004. Epub 2008 Jun 17.

Use, tolerance and avoidance of amplified RNA silencing by plants.

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Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes du CNRS, UPR2357; 12 rue du Général Zimmer, 67084 Strasbourg Cedex, France.


In plants and several other organisms, the effects of RNA silencing can be amplified by the action of cellular RNA-DEPENDENT RNA POLYMERASES (RDRs). These enzymes were primarily studied for their role in antiviral defense in plants, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that they also have important endogenous functions, including the control of chromatin structure and the regulation of cellular gene expression. Recent evidence suggests that endogenous RDR activities intercept several RNA quality control pathways that normally prevent or restrain widespread amplification of silencing, which is likely to be detrimental. Plants appear, however, to have evolved sophisticated measures to tolerate or exploit amplified silencing under specific biological circumstances.

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