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Trends Plant Sci. 2010 Dec;15(12):701-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2010.09.001.

Virus-derived small interfering RNAs at the core of plant-virus interactions.

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Department of Environmental Biology, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Ramiro de Maeztu 9, 28040 Madrid, Spain.


Once a virus enters a cell, viral double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is targeted by the RNA silencing machinery to initiate a cascade of regulatory events directed by viral small interfering RNAs (vsiRNAs). Recent genetic and functional studies along with the high-throughput sequencing of vsiRNAs have shed light on the genetic and structural requirements for virus targeting, the origins and compositions of vsiRNAs and their potential for controlling gene expression. The precise nature of the triggering molecules of virus-induced RNA silencing or the targeting constraints for viral genome recognition and processing represent outstanding questions that will be discussed in this review. The contribution of vsiRNAs to antiviral defense and host genome modifications has profound implications for our understanding of viral pathogenicity and host specificity in plants.

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