On the role of RNA silencing in the pathogenicity and evolution of viroids and viral satellites

Wang, M. B., Bian, X. Y., Wu, L. M., Liu, L. X., Smith, N. A., Isenegger, D., Wu, R. M., Masuta, C., Vance, V. B., Watson, J. M., Rezaian, A., Dennis, E. S., & Waterhouse, P. M. (2004) On the role of RNA silencing in the pathogenicity and evolution of viroids and viral satellites. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101(9), pp. 3275-3280.

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Viroids and most viral satellites have small, noncoding, and highly structured RNA genomes. How they cause disease symptoms without encoding proteins and why they have characteristic secondary structures are two longstanding questions. Recent studies have shown that both viroids and satellites are capable of inducing RNA silencing, suggesting a possible role of this mechanism in the pathology and evolution of these subviral RNAs. Here we show that preventing RNA silencing in tobacco, using a silencing suppressor, greatly reduces the symptoms caused by the Y satellite of cucumber mosaic virus. Furthermore, tomato plants expressing hairpin RNA, derived from potato spindle tuber viroid, developed symptoms similar to those of potato spindle tuber viroid infection. These results provide evidence suggesting that viroids and satellites cause disease symptoms by directing RNA silencing against physiologically important host genes. We also show that viroid and satellite RNAs are significantly resistant to RNA silencing-mediated degradation, suggesting that RNA silencing is an important selection pressure shaping the evolution of the secondary structures of these pathogens.

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164 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 65795
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Open Access copy of this article is available via PubMed Central (see link below)
Additional URLs:
Keywords: satellite RNA, article, controlled study, cucumber, defective virus, gene silencing, molecular evolution, nonhuman, plant pathogen interaction, priority journal, RNA gene, RNA structure, suppressor cell, tobacco, Tobacco mosaic virus, tomato, viroid, virus virulence, Base Sequence, Cucumovirus, DNA Primers, DNA, Viral, Evolution, Molecular, Flowers, Gene Expression Regulation, Viral, Genome, Viral, Lycopersicon esculentum, Molecular Sequence Data, Plant Diseases, Plant Viruses, RNA Viruses, RNA, Messenger, RNA, Small Interfering, Viroids, Virus Replication, Cucumber mosaic virus, Cucumis sativus, Nicotiana tabacum, Potato spindle tuber viroid, Solanum tuberosum
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0400104101
ISSN: 0027-8424
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Deposited On: 08 Jan 2014 01:54
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2014 03:47

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