Small RNAs (sRNAs), a class of regulatory non-coding RNAs around 20~30-nt long, including small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs), are critical regulators of gene expression. Recently, accumulating evidence indicates that sRNAs can be transferred not only within cells and tissues of individual organisms, but also across different eukaryotic species, serving as a bond connecting the animal, plant, and microbial worlds. In this review, we summarize the results from recent studies on cross-kingdom sRNA communication. We not only review the horizontal transfer of sRNAs among animals, plants and microbes, but also discuss the mechanism of RNA interference (RNAi) signal transmission via cross-kingdom sRNAs. We also compare the advantages of host-induced gene silencing (HIGS) and spray-induced gene silencing (SIGS) technology and look forward to their applicable prospects in controlling fungal diseases.
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