A species of small antisense RNA in posttranscriptional gene silencing in plants

Science. 1999 Oct 29;286(5441):950-2. doi: 10.1126/science.286.5441.950.


Posttranscriptional gene silencing (PTGS) is a nucleotide sequence-specific defense mechanism that can target both cellular and viral mRNAs. Here, three types of transgene-induced PTGS and one example of virus-induced PTGS were analyzed in plants. In each case, antisense RNA complementary to the targeted mRNA was detected. These RNA molecules were of a uniform length, estimated at 25 nucleotides, and their accumulation required either transgene sense transcription or RNA virus replication. Thus, the 25-nucleotide antisense RNA is likely synthesized from an RNA template and may represent the specificity determinant of PTGS.

Publication types

  • Comment
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Oxidoreductases / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Gene Silencing*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Nicotiana / genetics
  • Plants / enzymology
  • Plants / genetics
  • Plants / virology
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Plants, Toxic
  • Potexvirus / genetics
  • RNA, Antisense / analysis
  • RNA, Antisense / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / physiology
  • RNA, Plant / analysis
  • RNA, Plant / physiology*
  • RNA, Viral / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Luminescent Proteins
  • RNA, Antisense
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Plant
  • RNA, Viral
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Amino Acid Oxidoreductases
  • 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid oxidase