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Virology. 2011 Apr 25;413(1):72-83. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2011.01.021. Epub 2011 Feb 25.

Accumulation of Potato spindle tuber viroid-specific small RNAs is accompanied by specific changes in gene expression in two tomato cultivars.

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  • 1Plant Pathology Laboratory, Faculty of Agriculture and Life Science, Hirosaki University, Hirosaki 036-8561, Japan.


To better understand the biogenesis of viroid-specific small RNAs and their possible role in disease induction, we have examined the accumulation of these small RNAs in potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd)-infected tomato plants. Large-scale sequence analysis of viroid-specific small RNAs revealed active production from the upper portion of the pathogenicity and central domains, two regions previously thought to be underrepresented. Profiles of small RNA populations derived from PSTVd antigenomic RNA were more variable, with differences between infected Rutgers (severe symptoms) and Moneymaker (mild symptoms) plants pointing to possible cultivar-specific differences in small RNA synthesis and/or stability. Using microarray analysis, we monitored the effects of PSTVd infection on the expression levels of >100 tomato genes containing potential binding sites for PSTVd small RNAs. Of 18 such genes down-regulated early in infection, two genes involved in gibberellin or jasmonic acid biosynthesis contain binding sites for PSTVd small RNAs in their respective ORFs.

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