RNA interference pathways in filamentous fungi

Liande Li, Shwu Shin Chang, Yi Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


RNA interference is a conserved homology-dependent post-transcriptional/ transcriptional gene silencing mechanism in eukaryotes. The filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa is one of the first organisms used for RNAi studies. Quelling and meiotic silencing by unpaired DNA are two RNAi-related phenomena discovered in Neurospora, and their characterizations have contributed significantly to our understanding of RNAi mechanisms in eukaryotes. A type of DNA damage-induced small RNA, microRNA-like small RNAs and Dicer-independent small silencing RNAs were recently discovered in Neurospora. In addition, there are at least six different pathways responsible for the production of these small RNAs, establishing this fungus as an important model system to study small RNA function and biogenesis. The studies in Cryphonectria, Mucor, Aspergillus and other species indicate that RNAi is widely conserved in filamentous fungi and plays important roles in genome defense. This review summarizes our current understanding of RNAi pathways in filamentous fungi.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3849-3863
Number of pages15
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Dicer-independent small RNAs
  • Meiotic silencing
  • MicroRNA
  • Quelling
  • RNAi
  • qiRNA
  • siRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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