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Defense, counter defense and counter counter defense in host pathogen interactions of plants

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Sue Griffin.

Host: Brian Ferguson (bf234@cam.ac.uk)

RNA silencing involving small interfering (si)RNA was revealed in plants from the finding that transgenes in plants were often unexpectedly silent. In some of the most counter-intuitive examples the silent transgenes had a phenotype. They conferred resistance to viruses provided that there was sequence similarity of the virus and the transgene.

This observation then led to the discovery that RNA silencing is part of a natural defense system in which viral RNA suppresses its own accumulation through a negative feedback loop involving siRNA. Viruses produce protein suppressors of RNA silencing as part of a counter defense system.

In my talk I shall illustrate how the counter defense system is itself countered in the arms race between the host plant and its pathogens through the action of microRNAs.

This talk is part of the Immunology in Pathology series.

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