Small RNA binding is a common strategy to suppress RNA silencing by several viral suppressors

Lóránt Lakatos, Tibor Csorba, Vitantonio Pantaleo, Elisabeth J. Chapman, James C. Carrington, Yu Ping Liu, Valerian V. Dolja, Lourdes Fernández Calvino, Juan José López-Moya, József Burgyán

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

416 Scopus citations


RNA silencing is an evolutionarily conserved system that functions as an antiviral mechanism in higher plants and insects. To counteract RNA silencing, viruses express silencing suppressors that interfere with both siRNA- and microRNA-guided silencing pathways. We used comparative in vitro and in vivo approaches to analyse the molecular mechanism of suppression by three well-studied silencing suppressors. We found that silencing suppressors p19, p21 and HC-Pro each inhibit the intermediate step of RNA silencing via binding to siRNAs, although the molecular features required for duplex siRNA binding differ among the three proteins. None of the suppressors affected the activity of preassembled RISC complexes. In contrast, each suppressor uniformly inhibited the siRNA-initiated RISC assembly pathway by preventing RNA silencing initiator complex formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2768-2780
Number of pages13
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 21 2006


  • RNA silencing
  • Small RNA binding
  • Viral suppressors


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