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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Kearneysville, West Virginia » Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory » Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #368406

Research Project: Improving Fruit Crop Traits Through Advanced Genomic, Breeding, and Management Technologies

Location: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection

Title: RNAi-mediated resistance against viruses in perennial fruit plants

item SINGH, KHUSHWANT - Crop Research Institute - Czech Republic
item Dardick, Christopher - Chris
item KUNDU, JIBAN KUMAR - Crop Research Institute - Czech Republic

Submitted to: Plants
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/20/2019
Publication Date: 9/22/2019
Citation: Singh, K., Dardick, C.D., Kundu, J. 2019. RNAi-mediated resistance against viruses in perennial fruit plants. Plants.

Interpretive Summary: This review article examines the mechanisms associated with small RNAs and RNA interference as a form of natural plant defence against viruses. RNA interference is a strategy plants use to actively target and degrade the RNA of invading viruses. The associated mechanisms are complex and the precise nature of these interactions have not yet been fully elucidated. Here, we summarize the current state of knowledge and provide new insights from our own work in this area as well as from a rapidly growing body of literature. The manuscript relates these mechanisms to current biotechnology applications to control virus diseases as well as explores new potential functions of small RNAs.

Technical Abstract: Small RNAs (sRNAs) are 20–30-nucleotide-long, regulatory, noncoding RNAs that induce silencing of target genes at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. They are key components for cellular functions during plant development, hormone signaling, and stress responses. Generated from the cleavage of double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) or RNAs with hairpin structures by Dicer-like proteins (DCLs), they are loaded onto Argonaute (AGO) protein complexes to induce gene silencing of their complementary targets by promoting messenger RNA (mRNA) cleavage or degradation, translation inhibition, DNA methylation, and/or histone modifications. This mechanism of regulating RNA activity, collectively referred to as RNA interference (RNAi), which is an evolutionarily conserved process in eukaryotes. Plant RNAi pathways play a fundamental role in plant immunity against viruses and have been exploited via genetic engineering to control disease. Plant viruses of RNA origin that contain double-stranded RNA are targeted by the RNA-silencing machinery to produce virus-derived small RNAs (vsRNAs). Some vsRNAs serve as an effector to repress host immunity by capturing host RNAi pathways. High-throughput sequencing (HTS) strategies have been used to identify endogenous sRNA profiles, the “sRNAome”, and analyze expression in various perennial plants. Therefore, the review examines the current knowledge of sRNAs in perennial plants and fruits, describes the development and implementation of RNA interference (RNAi) in providing resistance against economically important viruses, and explores sRNA targets that are important in regulating a variety of biological processes.