Viroids: Small Probes for Exploring the Vast Universe of RNA Trafficking in Plants

Authors

  • Ying Wang,

    1. Department of Plant Cellular and Molecular Biology and Plant Biotechnology Center, The Ohio State University
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  • Biao Ding

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Plant Cellular and Molecular Biology and Plant Biotechnology Center, The Ohio State University
    2. The Center for RNA Biology, The Ohio State University
    3. Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Program, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
      *Corresponding author
      Tel: +1 614 247 6077; Fax: +1 614 292 5379; E-mail: ding.35@osu.edu
    Search for more papers by this author

*Corresponding author
Tel: +1 614 247 6077; Fax: +1 614 292 5379; E-mail: ding.35@osu.edu

Abstract

Cell-to-cell and long-distance trafficking of RNA is a rapidly evolving frontier of integrative plant biology that broadly impacts studies on plant growth and development, spread of infectious agents and plant defense responses. The fundamental questions being pursued at the forefronts revolve around function, mechanism and evolution. In the present review, we will first use specific examples to illustrate the biological importance of cell-to-cell and long-distance trafficking of RNA. We then focus our discussion on research findings obtained using viroids that have advanced our understanding of the underlying mechanisms involved in RNA trafficking. We further use viroid examples to illustrate the great diversity of trafficking machinery evolved by plants, as well as the promise for new insights in the years ahead. Finally, we discuss the prospect of integrating findings from different experimental systems to achieve a systems-based understanding of RNA trafficking function, mechanism and evolution.

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