Small Talk: On the Possible Role of Trans-Kingdom Small RNAs during Plant–Virus–Vector Tritrophic Communication

Emilyn E. Matsumura, Richard Kormelink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Small RNAs (sRNAs) are the hallmark and main effectors of RNA silencing and therefore are involved in major biological processes in plants, such as regulation of gene expression, antiviral defense, and plant genome integrity. The mechanisms of sRNA amplification as well as their mobile nature and rapid generation suggest sRNAs as potential key modulators of intercellular and interspecies communication in plant-pathogen–pest interactions. Plant endogenous sRNAs can act in cis to regulate plant innate immunity against pathogens, or in trans to silence pathogens’ messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and impair virulence. Likewise, pathogen-derived sRNAs can act in cis to regulate expression of their own genes and increase virulence towards a plant host, or in trans to silence plant mRNAs and interfere with host defense. In plant viral diseases, virus infection alters the composition and abundance of sRNAs in plant cells, not only by triggering and interfering with the plant RNA silencing antiviral response, which accumulates virus-derived small interfering RNAs (vsiRNAs), but also by modulating plant endogenous sRNAs. Here, we review the current knowledge on the nature and activity of virus-responsive sRNAs during virus–plant interactions and discuss their role in trans-kingdom modulation of virus vectors for the benefit of virus dissemination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1411
Number of pages17
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2023


  • plant viral diseases
  • plant viruses
  • Small RNA-based communication
  • trans-kingdom RNA silencing
  • virus–plant interactions


Dive into the research topics of 'Small Talk: On the Possible Role of Trans-Kingdom Small RNAs during Plant–Virus–Vector Tritrophic Communication'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this