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Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2008;46:303-26. doi: 10.1146/annurev.phyto.46.081407.104746.

Direct and indirect roles of viral suppressors of RNA silencing in pathogenesis.

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Center for Plant Cell Biology, Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, University of California, Riverside, California 92521, USA.


Plant and animal viruses overcome host antiviral silencing by encoding diverse viral suppressors of RNA silencing (VSRs). Prior to the identification and characterization of their silencing suppression activities mostly in transgene silencing assays, plant VSRs were known to enhance virus accumulation in the inoculated protoplasts, promote cell-to-cell virus movement in the inoculated leaves, facilitate the phloem-dependent long-distance virus spread, and/or intensify disease symptoms in systemically infected tissues. Here we discuss how the various silencing suppression activities of VSRs may facilitate these distinct steps during plant infection and why VSRs may not play a direct role in eliciting disease symptoms by general impairments of host endogenous small RNA pathways. We also highlight many of the key questions still to be addressed on the role of viral suppression of antiviral silencing in plant infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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