RNA as a target and an initiator of post-transcriptional gene silencing in transgenic plants

Plant Mol Biol. 1996 Oct;32(1-2):79-88. doi: 10.1007/BF00039378.


Post-transcriptional gene silencing in transgenic plants is the manifestation of a mechanism that suppresses RNA accumulation in a sequence-specific manner. The target RNA species may be the products of transgenes, endogenous plant genes or viral RNAs. For an RNA to be a target it is necessary only that it has sequence homology to the sense RNA product of the transgene. There are three current hypotheses to account for the mechanism of post transcriptional gene silencing. These models all require production of an antisense RNA of the RNA targets to account for the specificity of the mechanism. There could be either direct transcription of the antisense RNA from the transgene, antisense RNA produced in response to over expression of the transgene or antisense RNA produced in response to the production of an aberrant sense RNA product of the transgene. To determine which of these models is correct it will be necessary to find out whether transgene methylation, which is frequently associated with the potential of transgenes to confer post-transcriptional gene silencing, is a cause or a consequence of the process.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics*
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional*
  • RNA, Plant / genetics*
  • RNA, Plant / metabolism


  • RNA, Plant