Antiviral immunity directed by small RNAs

Cell. 2007 Aug 10;130(3):413-26. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2007.07.039.


Plants and invertebrates can protect themselves from viral infection through RNA silencing. This antiviral immunity involves production of virus-derived small interfering RNAs (viRNAs) and results in specific silencing of viruses by viRNA-guided effector complexes. The proteins required for viRNA production as well as several key downstream components of the antiviral immunity pathway have been identified in plants, flies, and worms. Meanwhile, viral mechanisms to suppress this small RNA-directed immunity by viruses are being elucidated, thereby illuminating an ongoing molecular arms race that likely impacts the evolution of both viral and host genomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate* / genetics
  • RNA, Small Interfering / chemistry*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / physiology*
  • Virus Diseases / genetics
  • Virus Diseases / immunology*
  • Virus Diseases / virology*


  • RNA, Small Interfering