Conversations between kingdoms: small RNAs

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2015 Apr;32:207-215. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2014.12.025. Epub 2015 Jan 23.


Humans, animals, and plants are constantly under attack from pathogens and pests, resulting in severe consequences on global human health and crop production. Small RNA (sRNA)-mediated RNA interference (RNAi) is a conserved regulatory mechanism that is involved in almost all eukaryotic cellular processes, including host immunity and pathogen virulence. Recent evidence supports the significant contribution of sRNAs and RNAi to the communication between hosts and some eukaryotic pathogens, pests, parasites, or symbiotic microorganisms. Mobile silencing signals—most likely sRNAs—are capable of translocating from the host to its interacting organism, and vice versa. In this review, we will provide an overview of sRNA communications between different kingdoms, with a primary focus on the advances in plant-pathogen interaction systems.

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
  • Ligands
  • Plants / genetics*
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Toll-Like Receptors / metabolism


  • Ligands
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Toll-Like Receptors