Plant microRNAs: Front line players against invading pathogens

Microb Pathog. 2018 May:118:9-17. doi: 10.1016/j.micpath.2018.03.008. Epub 2018 Mar 7.


Plants are attacked by a large number of pathogens. To defend against these pathogens, plants activate or repress a vast array of genes. For genetic expression and reprogramming, host endogenous small RNAs (sRNAs) are the key factors. Among these sRNAs, microRNAs (miRNAs) mediate gene regulation through RNA silencing at the post-transcriptional level and play an essential role in the defense responses to biotic and abiotic stress. In the recent years, high-throughput sequencing has enabled the researchers to uncover the role of plant miRNAs during pathogen invasion. So here we have reviewed the recent research findings illustrating the plant miRNAs active involvement in various defense processes during fungal, bacterial, viral and nematode infections. However, rapid validation of direct targets of miRNAs is the dire need of time, which can be very helpful in improving the plant resistance against various pathogenic diseases.

Keywords: Disease resistance; Gene expression; Immunity; Non-coding RNA; Plant defense.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology
  • Disease Resistance / genetics
  • Disease Resistance / immunology*
  • Disease Resistance / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Immunity
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / immunology*
  • MicroRNAs / physiology*
  • Mycoses / immunology
  • Nematode Infections / immunology
  • Plant Diseases / genetics
  • Plant Diseases / immunology*
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Plant Diseases / parasitology
  • Plant Immunity
  • Plants / genetics
  • Plants / immunology*
  • Plants / microbiology
  • Plants / parasitology
  • RNA, Plant / immunology
  • RNA, Small Untranslated / immunology
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Virus Diseases / immunology


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Plant
  • RNA, Small Untranslated