Do small RNAs unlock the below ground microbiome-plant interaction mystery?

Roshan Regmi, C. Ryan Penton, Jonathan Anderson, Vadakattu V.S.R. Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Over the past few decades, regulatory RNAs, such as small RNAs (sRNAs), have received increasing attention in the context of host-microbe interactions due to their diverse roles in controlling various biological processes in eukaryotes. In addition, studies have identified an increasing number of sRNAs with novel functions across a wide range of bacteria. What is not well understood is why cells regulate gene expression through post-transcriptional mechanisms rather than at the initiation of transcription. The finding of a multitude of sRNAs and their identified associated targets has allowed further investigation into the role of sRNAs in mediating gene regulation. These foundational data allow for further development of hypotheses concerning how a precise control of gene activity is accomplished through the combination of transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation. Recently, sRNAs have been reported to participate in interkingdom communication and signalling where sRNAs originating from one kingdom are able to target or control gene expression in another kingdom. For example, small RNAs of fungal pathogens that silence plant genes and vice-versa plant sRNAs that mediate bacterial gene expression. However, there is currently a lack of evidence regarding sRNA-based inter-kingdom signalling across more than two interacting organisms. A habitat that provides an excellent opportunity to investigate interconnectivity is the plant rhizosphere, a multifaceted ecosystem where plants and associated soil microbes are known to interact. In this paper, we discuss how the interconnectivity of bacteria, fungi, and plants within the rhizosphere may be mediated by bacterial sRNAs with a particular focus on disease suppressive and non-suppressive soils. We discuss the potential roles sRNAs may play in the below-ground world and identify potential areas of future research, particularly in reference to the regulation of plant immunity genes by bacterial and fungal communities in disease-suppressive and non-disease-suppressive soils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1017392
JournalFrontiers in Molecular Biosciences
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022


  • RNA interference
  • microbiome
  • post gene regulations
  • small RNAs
  • suppressive soil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)


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