Research Topic

Systemic RNA Signalling in Plants

About this Research Topic

The phloem, a specialized vascular tissue in higher plants, consists of columns of living cells, including sieve elements and companion cells connected by plasmodesmata, allowing molecules such as carbohydrates, proteins/amino acids, and hormones to travel locally or over long distances. The phloem also harbors a variety of RNAs including mRNAs and small RNAs. During the past decades, researchers have put great effort into highlighting the importance of mobile RNAs, particularly mRNAs and microRNAs (miRNAs), in plant growth and development. However, only a limited number of mRNAs or miRNAs have been identified to be mobile and involved in systemic signaling, such as cell-to-cell or long-distance communication. The rapid development and application of novel sequencing and molecular technologies has allowed for genome-wide identification of mobile RNAs through grafting experiments. However, the integrity of mobile RNAs and their functional significance remain poorly understood. Further investigation of systemic RNA signaling can lay a critical foundation to guide crop breeding towards meeting present and future challenges.


This Research Topic will focus on studies that apply the latest bioinformatic and molecular methods to identify mobile coding and non-coding RNA loci responsible for systemic regulation of plant development, or interactions with and responses to pathogens and environmental stresses. Within this Research Topic, we aim to recruit Original Research, Reviews, Mini-reviews, Hypotheses and Theory, Perspective and Opinion articles related but not limited to:


  • Detection of RNA’s that function as trafficking signals in plants.
  • Conservation of mobile RNAs and their functions across plant taxa.
  • Elucidating the functional role that mobile trafficking RNAs play in interspecific interactions, such as those between plant and pathogen or plant and symbiont.
  • Characterizing the role of mobile RNAs in plant responses to the environment and abiotic stresses.
  • The application of RNA signaling to crop improvement. 



Keywords: RNA, long distance communication, non-coding RNA, stress, gene editing, pathogen-plant interactions, evolution, comparative genomics


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The phloem, a specialized vascular tissue in higher plants, consists of columns of living cells, including sieve elements and companion cells connected by plasmodesmata, allowing molecules such as carbohydrates, proteins/amino acids, and hormones to travel locally or over long distances. The phloem also harbors a variety of RNAs including mRNAs and small RNAs. During the past decades, researchers have put great effort into highlighting the importance of mobile RNAs, particularly mRNAs and microRNAs (miRNAs), in plant growth and development. However, only a limited number of mRNAs or miRNAs have been identified to be mobile and involved in systemic signaling, such as cell-to-cell or long-distance communication. The rapid development and application of novel sequencing and molecular technologies has allowed for genome-wide identification of mobile RNAs through grafting experiments. However, the integrity of mobile RNAs and their functional significance remain poorly understood. Further investigation of systemic RNA signaling can lay a critical foundation to guide crop breeding towards meeting present and future challenges.


This Research Topic will focus on studies that apply the latest bioinformatic and molecular methods to identify mobile coding and non-coding RNA loci responsible for systemic regulation of plant development, or interactions with and responses to pathogens and environmental stresses. Within this Research Topic, we aim to recruit Original Research, Reviews, Mini-reviews, Hypotheses and Theory, Perspective and Opinion articles related but not limited to:


  • Detection of RNA’s that function as trafficking signals in plants.
  • Conservation of mobile RNAs and their functions across plant taxa.
  • Elucidating the functional role that mobile trafficking RNAs play in interspecific interactions, such as those between plant and pathogen or plant and symbiont.
  • Characterizing the role of mobile RNAs in plant responses to the environment and abiotic stresses.
  • The application of RNA signaling to crop improvement. 



Keywords: RNA, long distance communication, non-coding RNA, stress, gene editing, pathogen-plant interactions, evolution, comparative genomics


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 May 2021 Abstract
30 September 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 May 2021 Abstract
30 September 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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