A Species of Small Antisense RNA in Posttranscriptional Gene Silencing in Plants

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Science  29 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5441, pp. 950-952
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5441.950

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Posttranscriptional gene silencing (PTGS) is a nucleotide sequence–specific defense mechanism that can target both cellular and viral mRNAs. Here, three types of transgene-induced PTGS and one example of virus-induced PTGS were analyzed in plants. In each case, antisense RNA complementary to the targeted mRNA was detected. These RNA molecules were of a uniform length, estimated at 25 nucleotides, and their accumulation required either transgene sense transcription or RNA virus replication. Thus, the 25-nucleotide antisense RNA is likely synthesized from an RNA template and may represent the specificity determinant of PTGS.

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