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Plants encode a general siRNA suppressor that is induced and suppressed by viruses

ABSTRACT: Small RNAs play essential regulatory roles in genome stability, development and stress responses in most eukaryotes. Plants encode DICER-LIKE (DCL) RNaseIII enzymes, including DCL1, which produces miRNAs, and DCL2, DCL3 and DCL4, which produce diverse size classes of siRNA. Plants also encode RNASE THREE-LIKE (RTL) enzymes that lack DCL-specific domains and whose function is largely unknown. Small RNA sequencing in plants over-expressing RTL1 or RTL2 or lacking RTL2 revealed that RTL1 over-expression inhibits the accumulation of all types of small RNAs produced by DCL2, DCL3 and DCL4, indicating that RTL1 is a general suppressor of plant siRNA pathways. By contrast, RTL2 plays minor, if any, role in the small RNA repertoire. In vivo and in vitro assays revealed that RTL1 prevents siRNA production by degrading dsRNA before they are processed by DCL2, DCL3 and DCL4. The substrate of RTL1 cleavage is likely long perfect (or near-perfect) dsRNA, consistent with the RTL1-insensitivity of miRNAs, which derive from short imperfect dsRNA. RTL1 is naturally expressed only weakly in roots, but virus infection strongly induces its expression in leaves, suggesting that RTL1 induction is a general strategy used by viruses to counteract the siRNA-based plant antiviral defense. Accordingly, transgenic plants over-expressing RTL1 are more sensitive to TYMV infection than wild-type plants, likely because RTL1 prevents the production of antiviral siRNAs. However, TCV, TVCV and CMV, which encode stronger suppressors of RNA silencing (VSR) than TYMV, are insensitive to RTL1 over-expression. Indeed, TCV VSR inhibits RTL1 activity, suggesting that inducing RTL1 expression and dampening RTL1 activity is a dual strategy used by viruses to establish a successful infection. These results reveal another level of complexity in the evolutionary battle between viruses and plant defenses. Flower sRNA profiles in diverse conditions involving RTL1 and RTL2

SUBMITTER: Matthias Zytnicki 

PROVIDER: E-GEOD-49866 | BioStudies | 2013-09-10


REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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