Small RNAs and the control of transposons and viruses in Drosophila

van Rij, R. P. & Berezikov, E., 1-Apr-2009, In : Trends in Microbiology. 17, 4, p. 163-171 9 p.

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  • Small RNAs and the control of transposons and viruses in Drosophila

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RNA interference (RNAi) - post-transcriptional gene silencing guided by small interfering RNA (siRNA) - is an important antiviral defense mechanism in insects and plants. Several recent studies in Drosophila identified endogenous siRNAs corresponding to transposons, to structured cellular transcripts and to overlapping convergent transcripts. In addition, one of these studies detected a large pool of Argonaute-2 associated siRNAs that mapped to the genome of flock house virus, a (+) RNA virus. Our bioinformatic analyses indicate that these viral siRNAs mapped in roughly equal proportions to both (+) and (-) viral RNA strands. These reports attribute an important function to RNAi in the defense against parasitic nucleic acids (viruses and transposable elements) and provide a novel mechanism for RNAi-based regulation of cellular gene expression. Furthermore, the detection of viral siRNAs of both (+) and (-) polarity implicates double-stranded RNA replication intermediates as the Dicer substrates that mediate antiviral defense.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-171
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1-Apr-2009

ID: 75796044