Virus-induced gene silencing of Argonaute genes in Nicotiana benthamiana demonstrates that extensive systemic silencing requires Argonaute1-like and Argonaute4-like genes

Louise Jones, Teresa Keining, Andrew Eamens, Fabián E Vaistij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several distinct pathways of RNA silencing operate in plants with roles including the suppression of virus accumulation, control of endogenous gene expression, and direction of DNA and chromatin modifications. Proteins of the Dicer-Like and Argonaute ( AGO) families have key roles within these silencing pathways and have distinct biochemical properties. We are interested in the relationships between different silencing pathways and have used Nicotiana benthamiana as a model system. While not being an amenable plant for traditional genetics, N. benthamiana is extensively used for RNA-silencing studies. Using virus-induced gene silencing technology we demonstrate that both NbAGO1- and NbAGO4-like genes are required for full systemic silencing but not for silencing directed by an inverted repeat transgene. Phenotypic differences between the virus-induced gene silencing plants indicate that NbAGO1 and NbAGO4 like act at different stages of the silencing pathways. Suppression of NbAGO1 expression recapitulated the hypomorphic mutant phenotype of certain Arabidopsis ( Arabidopsis thaliana) ago1 alleles, however, suppression of NbAgo4 like resulted in phenotypes differing in some respects from those reported for Arabidopsis ago4. We suggest that the small interfering RNA amplification step required for full systemic silencing is dependent upon a nuclear event requiring the activity of NbAGO4 like.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-606
Number of pages9
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Southern
  • DNA Primers
  • Gene Silencing
  • Genes, Plant
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Tobacco

Cite this