Plant defense responses against pathogens are mediated by activation and repression of a large array of genes. Host endogenous small RNAs are essential in this gene expression reprogramming process. Here, we discuss recent findings on pathogen-regulated host microRNAs (miRNAs) and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and their roles in plant-microbe interaction. We further introduce small RNA pathway components, including Dicer-like proteins (DCLs), double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) binding protein, RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RDRs), small RNA methyltransferase HEN1, and Argonaute (AGO) proteins, that contribute to plant immune responses. The strategies that pathogens have evolved to suppress host small RNA pathways are also discussed. Collectively, host small RNAs and RNA silencing machinery constitute a critical layer of defense in regulating the interaction of pathogens with plants.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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