Editors' ChoiceHost-Pathogen Interactions

RNA on the Attack

Sci. Signal.  08 Oct 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 296, pp. ec246
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004794

Plant microbial pathogens often work through protein effectors that are delivered into the plant cells to disrupt critical cellular functions. Weiberg et al. (see the Perspective by Baulcombe) have now found that small RNAs (sRNAs) of the fungus Botrytis cinerea can play a similar role. After fungal infection of tomato or Arabidopsis leaves, the plant cells contained a suite of fungal-derived sRNAs. Three sRNAs were found to bind to the plant's own Argonaute protein, thereby silencing the plant's fungal defense genes.

A. Weiberg, M. Wang, F.-M. Lin, H. Zhao, Z. Zhang, I. Kaloshian, H.-D. Huang, H. Jin, Fungal small RNAs suppress plant immunity by hijacking host RNA interference pathways. Science 342, 118–123 (2013). [Abstract] [Full Text]

D. Baulcombe, Small RNA—The secret of noble rot. Science 342, 45–46 (2013). [Abstract] [Full Text]