J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2014, Vol. 56 ›› Issue (10): 962-970.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12200

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Roles of small RNAs in plant disease resistance

Li Yang1 and Hai Huang2*   

  1. 1Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA
    2National Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics, Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China
  • Received:2013-12-26 Accepted:2014-03-24 Published:2014-03-26
  • About author:*Correspondence: E-mail: hhuang@sibs.ac.cn


The interaction between plants and pathogens represents a dynamic competition between a robust immune system and efficient infectious strategies. Plant innate immunity is composed of complex and highly regulated molecular networks, which can be triggered by the perception of either conserved or race-specific pathogenic molecular signatures. Small RNAs are emerging as versatile regulators of plant development, growth and response to biotic and abiotic stresses. They act in different tiers of plant immunity, including the pathogen-associated molecular pattern-triggered and the effector-triggered immunity. On the other hand, pathogens have evolved effector molecules to suppress or hijack the host small RNA pathways. This leads to an arms race between plants and pathogens at the level of small RNA-mediated defense. Here, we review recent advances in small RNA-mediated defense responses and discuss the challenging questions in this area.


Yang L, Huang H (2014) Roles of small RNAs in plant disease resistance. J Integr Plant Biol 56: 962–970. doi: 10.1111/jipb.12200

Key words: Effector-triggered immunity, microRNA, pathogen-associated molecular pattern-triggered immunity, small interfering RNA

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