Abstract / Description of output
A silencing signal in plants with an RNA specificity determinant moves through plasmodesmata and the phloem. To identify the mobile RNA, we grafted Arabidopsis thaliana shoots to roots that would be a recipient for the silencing signal. Using mutants that block small RNA (sRNA) biogenesis in either source or recipient tissue, we found that transgene-derived sRNA as well as a substantial proportion of the endogenous sRNA had moved across the graft union, and we provide evidence that 24-nucleotide mobile sRNAs direct epigenetic modifications in the genome of the recipient cells. Mobile sRNA thus represents a mechanism for transmitting the specification of epigenetic modification and could affect genome defense and responses to external stimuli that have persistent effects in plants.