Defective RNA Particles of Plant Viruses—Origin, Structure and Role in Pathogenesis

Daria Budzyńska, Mark P. Zwart, Beata Hasiów-Jaroszewska* (Corresponding author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


The genomes of RNA viruses may be monopartite or multipartite, and sub-genomic particles such as defective RNAs (D RNAs) or satellite RNAs (satRNAs) can be associated with some of them. D RNAs are small, deletion mutants of a virus that have lost essential functions for independent replication, encapsidation and/or movement. D RNAs are common elements associated with human and animal viruses, and they have been described for numerous plant viruses so far. Over 30 years of studies on D RNAs allow for some general conclusions to be drawn. First, the essential condition for D RNA formation is prolonged passaging of the virus at a high cellular multiplicity of infection (MOI) in one host. Second, recombination plays crucial roles in D RNA formation. Moreover, during virus propagation, D RNAs evolve, and the composition of the particle depends on, e.g., host plant, virus isolate or number of passages. Defective RNAs are often engaged in transient interactions with full-length viruses—they can modulate accumulation, infection dynamics and virulence, and are widely used, i.e., as a tool for research on cis-acting elements crucial for viral replication. Nevertheless, many questions regarding the generation and role of D RNAs in pathogenesis remain open. In this review, we summarise the knowledge about D RNAs of plant viruses obtained so far.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2814
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Defective Viruses/genetics
  • Animals
  • RNA Viruses/genetics
  • RNA, Satellite
  • Virus Replication
  • Humans
  • RNA, Viral/genetics
  • Plant Viruses/genetics
  • subviral particles
  • plant viruses
  • DI RNAs
  • defective RNA particles


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