Systemic Small RNA Signaling Systems in Plants

Tech ID: 11334 / UC Case 2003-555-0

Systemic Small RNA Signaling Systems in Plants

Full Description
A Systemic Small RNA Signaling System in plants has been developed by University of California, Davis researchers, working with researchers from AgriGenesis. This research provides a foundation for the manipulation of the pathways and mechanisms utilized by plants to exert long-distance control over epigenetic events.

Systemic translocation of RNA exerts non-cell-autonomous epigenetic control over plant development and defense. This research has demonstrated transport of small interfering RNA (siRNA) and micro RNA (miRNA). Using model systems that afford analysis of the phloem sap, mobile small RNA species were detected and characterized. The dynamic nature of this RNA population was revealed by its response both to seasonal conditions and viral infection. Heterograft experiments conducted with spontaneously silencing plant lines confirmed the presence of transgene-derived siRNA in the phloem translocation stream. Bioinformatic analyses identified potential targets for these phloem small RNAs, including transposon-like genes. A component of the protein machinery involved in small RNA trafficking was identified and characterized, and shown to mediate the selective cell-to-cell trafficking of small RNA through plasmodesmata.

This invention includes phloem-mobile small-RNA molecules and plant polynucleotide sequences encoding phloem small-RNA binding proteins. These proteins mediate cell-to-cell and long-distance system movement of small RNA molecules involved in regulating developmental and physiological events in distantly located tissues and organs.

The invention also includes methods to modify non-cell autonomous signaling events in plants involving small-RNA, including flowering, plant growth, systemic resistance to pathogens, responses to environmental stresses (e.g., heat, drought, salinity), systemic gene silencing (e.g., viral infections), biomass distribution, regulation of carbon metabolism, control of plant size, and developmental timing and patterning.

US 7,189,892   [MORE INFO]

Type of Offer: Licensing

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