Long Noncoding RNAs in Plant Viroids and Viruses: A Review

Author ORCID Identifier

Nipin Shrestha:https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5557-1028

Józef Bujarski:https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7075-716X

Publication Title




Document Type



Infectious long-noncoding (lnc) RNAs related to plants can be of both viral and non-viral origin. Viroids are infectious plant lncRNAs that are not related to viruses and carry the circular, single-stranded, non-coding RNAs that replicate with host enzymatic activities via a rolling circle mechanism. Viroids interact with host processes in complex ways, emerging as one of the most productive tools for studying the functions of lncRNAs. Defective (D) RNAs, another category of lnc RNAs, are found in a variety of plant RNA viruses, most of which are noncoding. These are derived from and are replicated by the helper virus. D RNA-virus interactions evolve into mutually beneficial combinations, enhancing virus fitness via competitive advantages of moderated symptoms. Yet the satellite RNAs are single-stranded and include either large linear protein-coding ss RNAs, small linear ss RNAs, or small circular ss RNAs (virusoids). The satellite RNAs lack sequence homology to the helper virus, but unlike viroids need a helper virus to replicate and encapsidate. They can attenuate symptoms via RNA silencing and enhancement of host defense, but some can be lethal as RNA silencing suppressor antagonists. Moreover, selected viruses produce lncRNAs by incomplete degradation of genomic RNAs. They do not replicate but may impact viral infection, gene regulation, and cellular functions. Finally, the host plant lncRNAs can also contribute during plant-virus interactions, inducing plant defense and the regulation of gene expression, often in conjunction with micro and/or circRNAs.

First Page


Last Page


Publication Date





Defective RNAs, Long noncoding RNAs, RNA interference, RNA viruses, Satellite RNAs, Subviral RNAs, Viroids


Department of Biological Sciences