Small RNA Functions Are Required for Growth and Development of Magnaporthe oryzae

Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2017 Jul;30(7):517-530. doi: 10.1094/MPMI-11-16-0236-R. Epub 2017 May 15.


RNA interference (RNAi) is conserved in eukaryotic organisms, and it has been well studied in many animal and plant species and some fungal species, yet it is not well studied in fungal plant pathogens. In the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, we examined small RNA (sRNA) and their biogenesis in the context of growth and pathogenicity. Through genetic and genomic analyses, we demonstrate that loss of a single gene encoding Dicer, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, or Argonaute reduces sRNA levels. These three proteins are required for the biogenesis of sRNA-matching genome-wide regions (coding regions, repeats, and intergenic regions). The loss of one Argonaute reduced both sRNA and fungal virulence on barley leaves. Transcriptome analysis of multiple mutants revealed that sRNA play an important role in transcriptional regulation of repeats and intergenic regions in M. oryzae. Together, these data support that M. oryzae sRNA regulate developmental processes including, fungal growth and virulence.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Fungal Proteins / classification
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Genes, Fungal / genetics
  • Magnaporthe / genetics*
  • Magnaporthe / growth & development
  • Magnaporthe / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • RNA Interference*
  • RNA, Fungal / genetics*
  • RNA, Fungal / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Untranslated / genetics*
  • RNA, Small Untranslated / metabolism


  • Fungal Proteins
  • RNA, Fungal
  • RNA, Small Untranslated