Journal Article

Long distance transport and movement of RNA through the phloem

Julia Kehr and Anja Buhtz

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Published on behalf of Society for Experimental Biology

Volume 59, issue 1, pages 85-92
Published in print January 2008 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online September 2007 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI:
Long distance transport and movement of RNA through the phloem

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Cell-to-cell communication is essential for plant development and adaptation to environmental changes. As a strategy for efficient intercellular communication, plants have evolved a plant-specific symplasmic network connected via plasmodesmata that allows a locally restricted information exchange from cell to cell. A rapid information transfer over long distances is enabled via the phloem transport tubes that pervade the complete plant and thus connect even the most distant organs. While communication by small molecules like metabolites and phytohormones is comparably well studied, the intercellular trafficking of proteins and RNAs has only recently emerged as a novel mechanism of cell-to-cell and long-distance signalling in plants. In particular the non-cell-autonomous and systemic transport pathway for specific RNAs seems to play a key role in the co-ordination of important physiological processes, including virus defence, gene silencing, regulation of development, and nutrient allocation. This review is a summary of the current knowledge on RNAs contained in the phloem long-distance transport system, their transport mechanism, and their potential functions.

Keywords: Macromolecules; phloem transport; plasmodesmata; post-transcriptional gene silencing; RNA signalling; RNA silencing; systemic signalling; virus transport

Journal Article.  4687 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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