, Volume 27, Issue 10, pp 1571-1579
Date: 15 Jul 2008

Roles of microRNA in plant defense and virus offense interaction

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Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNA) that are around 22 nucleotides long non-protein-coding RNAs, play key regulatory roles in plants. Recent research findings show that miRNAs are involved in plant defense and viral offense systems. Advances in understanding the mechanism of miRNA biogenesis and evolution are useful for elucidating the complicated roles they play in viral infection networks. In this paper a brief summary of evolution of plant anti-virus defense is given and the function of miRNAs involved in plant-virus competition is highlighted. It is believed that miRNAs have several advantages over homology-dependent and siRNA-mediated gene silencing when they are applied biotechnologically to promote plant anti-virus defense. miRNA-mediated anti-virus pathway is an ancient mechanism with a promising future. However, using miRNAs as a powerful anti-virus tool will be better realized only if miRNA genomics and functions in plant viral infection are fully understood.

Communicated by P. Kumar.