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The Regulatory Role of Small RNAs in Plant Innate Immunity

Deepa James and Gleena Mary C F
Department of Plant Pathology, College of Horticulture, Kerala Agricultural University, Vellanikkara
Abstract—Small RNAs are non-coding regulatory RNAs with 20-30 nucleotide (nt) sequences. These plentiful RNAs regulate gene expression at different levels by interfering with mRNA translation. The two different forms of small RNAs are classified into small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs). Small RNAs play a critical role in regulating the interaction of pathogens with plants thereby providing innate immunity to plants. The preliminary interaction between the pathogen and its host is responsible for Pathogen Associated Molecular Pattern (PAMP)-triggered immunity (PTI) in plants. Bacteria counteract PTI by secreting effector proteins into plant cells, which lead to suppression of PTI. Host plants, in turn, have evolved resistance components such as resistance (R) proteins that can recognize effectors and elicit Effector-Triggered Immunity (ETI). Many host miRNAs and siRNAs are induced or suppressed by various pathogen challenges. These pathogen-responsive small RNAs induce posttranscriptional gene silencing by guiding mRNA degradation or translational repression. 

Index Terms—small RNAs, siRNAs, miRNAs, PAMP-triggered immunity, effector-triggered immunity, mRNA degradation 

Cite: Deepa James and Gleena Mary C F, "The Regulatory Role of Small RNAs in Plant Innate Immunity," International Journal of Life Sciences Biotechnology and Pharma Research, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 72-82, January 2014.
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