In plants, RNA silencing is a fundamental regulator of gene expression, heterochromatin formation, suppression of transposable elements, and defense against viruses. The sequence specificity of these processes relies on small noncoding RNA (sRNA) molecules. Although the spreading of RNA silencing across the plant has been recognized for nearly two decades, only recently have sRNAs been formally demonstrated as the mobile silencing signals. Here, we discuss the various types of mobile sRNA molecules, their short- and long-range movement, and their function in recipient cells.
- silencing signals