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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2008 Aug;11(4):464-70. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2008.04.006. Epub 2008 Jun 24.

Post-transcriptional RNA silencing in plant-microbe interactions: a touch of robustness and versatility.

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


RNA silencing is a pan-eukaryotic, sequence-specific gene regulation mechanism with recognized roles in development and maintenance of genome integrity. In plants, this mechanism also operates as a major antiviral defense system whereby 21-24 nt-long RNAs derived from the pathogen's genomes guide post-transcriptional silencing (PTGS) of viral transcripts. Recent evidence suggests that PTGS involving small RNAs of cellular, rather than pathogenous origin, might additionally have broad implications in potentiating basal defense and race-specific resistance to microbes in plants. These studies simultaneously unravel a staggering degree of complexity and flexibility in endogenous RNA silencing pathways, a likely reflection of the plants' faculty to adapt to their environment.

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