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Spreading of RNA targeting and DNA methylation in RNA silencing requires transcription of the target gene and a putative RNA-dependent RNA polymerase

Vaistij, F.E., Jones, L., Baulcombe, D.C.
plant cell 2002 v.14 no.4 pp. 857-867
Arabidopsis thaliana, Nicotiana benthamiana, RNA, DNA methylation, gene expression, protein synthesis, genes, DNA-directed RNA polymerase, degradation, plant viruses, genetically modified organisms, reporter genes, animal proteins, ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase, oxygenases, green fluorescent protein
RNA silencing is a sequence-specific RNA degradation process that follows the recognition of double-stranded RNA. Here, we show that virus vectors carrying parts of a green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgene targeted RNA silencing in Nicotiana benthamiana and Arabidopsis against the entire GFP RNA. These results indicate that there was spreading of RNA targeting from the initiator region into the adjacent 5' and 3' regions of the target gene. Spreading was accompanied by methylation of the corresponding GFP DNA. It also was dependent on transcription of the transgene and on the putative RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, SDE1/SGS2. These findings indicate that SDE1/SGS2 produces double-stranded RNA using the target RNA as a template. RNA silencing of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase and phytoene desaturase was not associated with the spreading of RNA targeting or DNA methylation, indicating that these endogenous RNAs are not templates for SDE1/SGS2.