Genetic and molecular analysis of long-distance gene silencing in Arabidopsis (2009–2011)
Gene silencing is a highly conserved process in plants and animals. It is of fundamental importance to gene regulation, virus defence, genome response to environment and genome evolution. Remarkably, when gene silencing is triggered in plants it can spread throughout the organism. The aim of this project is to define the mechanism of long-distance gene silencing in plants, particularly the genes involved in the process and the molecular nature of the mobile silencing signal. Expected outcomes include increased understanding of intercellular genetic signalling in plants and its role in plant growth and development, as well as its role in viral defence. The findings might also shed new light on the mechanism of gene silencing in animals.