RNA interference pathways in fungi: mechanisms and functions

Annu Rev Microbiol. 2012;66:305-23. doi: 10.1146/annurev-micro-092611-150138. Epub 2012 Jun 28.


RNA interference (RNAi) is a conserved eukaryotic gene regulatory mechanism that uses small noncoding RNAs to mediate posttranscriptional/transcriptional gene silencing. The fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe and the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa have served as important model systems for RNAi research. Studies on these two organisms and other fungi have contributed significantly to our understanding of the mechanisms and functions of RNAi in eukaryotes. In addition, surprisingly diverse RNAi-mediated processes and small RNA biogenesis pathways have been discovered in fungi. In this review, we give an overview of different fungal RNAi pathways with a focus on their mechanisms and functions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal*
  • Neurospora crassa / genetics*
  • RNA Interference*
  • RNA, Fungal / genetics
  • RNA, Fungal / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Schizosaccharomyces / genetics*


  • RNA, Fungal
  • RNA, Messenger