PerspectiveMolecular Biology

Small RNA Makes Its Move

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Science  14 May 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5980, pp. 834-835
DOI: 10.1126/science.1190510

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Summary

It has been known for almost 100 years that when a plant virus infects a leaf, mobile signals are transmitted through vessels in the stem to other leaves to confer resistance to subsequent infection. More recently, the silencing of exogenous transgenes has been shown to involve a mobile signal (1). Although RNA molecules have been implicated in systemic plant cell-to-cell communication, the nature of mobile RNA that silences gene expression has not been clear (2). Now, four studies—including those by Molnar et al. (3) and Dunoyer et al. (4) on pages 872 and 912 of this issue—report that small interfering RNA (siRNA) and microRNA (miRNA) are mobile signals that control gene expression during plant development.