Plants send small RNAs in extracellular vesicles to fungal pathogen to silence virulence genes

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Science  08 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6393, pp. 1126-1129
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar4142

Defense cargo shuttles in vesicles

Plants can use small RNAs (sRNAs) to interfere with virulence factor gene expression in pathogens. Cai et al. show that the small mustard plant Arabidopsis shuttles defensive sRNAs into the necrotrophic fungus Botrytis cinerea via extracellular vesicles (see the Perspective by Thomma and Cook). The vesicles are associated with tetraspanin proteins, which can interact and form membrane microdomains. Several dozen different sRNAs targeting the pathogenic process were transported from Arabidopsis to B. cinerea in a selective manner.

Science, this issue p. 1126; see also p. 1070

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