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Special Issue "Functional and Mechanistic Diversity of RNA Silencing in Fungi"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Microbiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Francisco E. Nicolás Molina
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Departamento de Genética y Microbiología, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Murcia, 30100 Murcia, Spain
Interests: RNA silencing mechanism in fungus

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

RNA silencing is a conserved mechanism that suppresses gene expression by targeting RNA transcripts for degradation or translational repression, and DNA sequences for transcriptional inhibition. The mechanism uses small RNA molecules (sRNAs) and sequence-specific pairing to designate its target sequences, providing a varied landscape of different pathways and types of sRNAs. In fungi, evolution was particularly prolific, designing a wide diversity of pathways and sRNAs. Thus, specific pathways produce their peculiar sRNAs, controlling different cellular functions such as defense, genome integrity, and gene regulation. This Special Issue on RNA silencing recapitulates updated overviews and original research on the different types of sRNAs and RNA-silencing pathways in fungi. Moreover, this compilation pays particular attention to the functional roles of RNA silencing in physiology and pathogenesis, without leaving out the increasing applied uses of this mechanism in fungal studies.

Scope

This Special Issue contemplates a broad scope encompassing the basic and applied concepts and technologies involved in the study of RNA silencing in fungi. It covers a broad range of subjects in research on fungal RNA silencing, including the mechanisms and machinery of different silencing pathways: transgene-induced silencing, endogenous gene regulation, epimutational pathways, non-canonical variants, sex-induced silencing, and the diversity of small RNAs in fungi such as siRNAs, masiRNAs, esRNAs, ex-siRNAs, milRNAs, qiRNAs, and rdRNAs. This Special Issue will also consider manuscripts on functional studies and the role of RNA silencing in fungal pathogenesis.

Dr. Francisco E. Nicolás Molina
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • RNA silencing
  • fungi
  • siRNA
  • esRNA
  • ex-siRNA
  • milRNA
  • qiRNA
  • rdRNA
  • epimutant
  • non-canonical RNA silencing

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Article
The RNAi Mechanism Regulates a New Exonuclease Gene Involved in the Virulence of Mucorales
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(5), 2282; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22052282 - 25 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 415
Abstract
Mucormycosis is a lethal disease caused by Mucorales, which are emerging as human causes that explain the high mortality for this disease. Consequently, the research community is searching for virulence determinants that could be repurposed as targets to develop new treatments against mucormycosis. [...] Read more.
Mucormycosis is a lethal disease caused by Mucorales, which are emerging as human causes that explain the high mortality for this disease. Consequently, the research community is searching for virulence determinants that could be repurposed as targets to develop new treatments against mucormycosis. Our work explores an RNA interference (RNAi)-based approach to find targets involved in the virulence of Mucorales. A transcriptomewide analysis compared sRNAs and their target mRNAs in two Mucor lusitanicus different pathotypes, virulent and avirulent, generating a list of 75 loci selected by their differential sRNA accumulation in these strains. As a proof of concept and validity, an experimental approach characterized two loci showing opposite behavior, confirming that RNAi activity causes their differential expression in the two pathotypes. We generated deletion mutants for two loci and a knockin-strain overexpressing for one of these loci. Their functional analysis in murine virulence assays identified the gene wex1, a putative DEDDy exonuclease with RNase domains, as an essential factor for virulence. The identification of wex1 showed the potential of our approach to discover virulence factors not only in Mucorales but also in any other fungal model with an active RNAi machinery. More importantly, it adds a new layer to the biological processes controlled by RNAi in M. lusitanicus, confirming that the Dicer-dependent RNAi pathway can silence gene expression to promote virulence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional and Mechanistic Diversity of RNA Silencing in Fungi)
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Review

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Review
The Evolutionary Significance of RNAi in the Fungal Kingdom
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(24), 9348; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21249348 - 08 Dec 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 917
Abstract
RNA interference (RNAi) was discovered at the end of last millennium, changing the way scientists understood regulation of gene expression. Within the following two decades, a variety of different RNAi mechanisms were found in eukaryotes, reflecting the evolutive diversity that RNAi entails. The [...] Read more.
RNA interference (RNAi) was discovered at the end of last millennium, changing the way scientists understood regulation of gene expression. Within the following two decades, a variety of different RNAi mechanisms were found in eukaryotes, reflecting the evolutive diversity that RNAi entails. The essential silencing mechanism consists of an RNase III enzyme called Dicer that cleaves double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) generating small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), a hallmark of RNAi. These siRNAs are loaded into the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) triggering the cleavage of complementary messenger RNAs by the Argonaute protein, the main component of the complex. Consequently, the expression of target genes is silenced. This mechanism has been thoroughly studied in fungi due to their proximity to the animal phylum and the conservation of the RNAi mechanism from lower to higher eukaryotes. However, the role and even the presence of RNAi differ across the fungal kingdom, as it has evolved adapting to the particularities and needs of each species. Fungi have exploited RNAi to regulate a variety of cell activities as different as defense against exogenous and potentially harmful DNA, genome integrity, development, drug tolerance, or virulence. This pathway has offered versatility to fungi through evolution, favoring the enormous diversity this kingdom comprises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional and Mechanistic Diversity of RNA Silencing in Fungi)
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