Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are a key component of RNA silencing, including cosuppression. Here, we show an example in which siRNA does not serve in the downregulation of target genes. A tobacco endoplasmic reticulum ω-3 fatty acid desaturase (NtFAD3) catalyzes the formation of α-linolenate (18:3). Introduction of the NtFAD3 gene into tobacco plants caused strong reduction of 18:3 content in leaf tissues, which is associated with the production of the NtFAD3 siRNAs. However, this silencing effect was lacking in the root tissues. Both the introduced NtFAD3 and endogenous NtFAD3 genes were expressed successfully, and the roots showed increased 18:3 phenotype. Surprisingly, the NtFAD3 siRNAs were produced even in the root tissues. Expression of a hairpin double-stranded RNA against the NtFAD3 gene caused efficient reduction of 18:3 content in root tissues. Therefore, cosuppression of the NtFAD3 gene in tobacco appears to include an as yet unidentified developmental stage and tissue-specific mechanism of regulation of siRNA function.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Structural Biology
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology