Use, tolerance and avoidance of amplified RNA silencing by plants

Trends Plant Sci. 2008 Jul;13(7):317-28. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2008.05.004. Epub 2008 Jun 17.


In plants and several other organisms, the effects of RNA silencing can be amplified by the action of cellular RNA-DEPENDENT RNA POLYMERASES (RDRs). These enzymes were primarily studied for their role in antiviral defense in plants, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that they also have important endogenous functions, including the control of chromatin structure and the regulation of cellular gene expression. Recent evidence suggests that endogenous RDR activities intercept several RNA quality control pathways that normally prevent or restrain widespread amplification of silencing, which is likely to be detrimental. Plants appear, however, to have evolved sophisticated measures to tolerate or exploit amplified silencing under specific biological circumstances.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Models, Biological
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Plants / metabolism
  • RNA Interference*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase / genetics*
  • RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase / metabolism


  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase