RNAi as a potential tool for biotechnological applications in fungi

Tomer M. Salame, Carmit Ziv, Yitzhak Hadar, Oded Yarden*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


RNA interference (RNAi) is a post-transcriptional gene-silencing (PTGS) phenomenon in which double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) triggers the degradation of homologous mRNA species, thereby reducing gene expression. In fungi, the use of RNAi as a tool for reverse genetics, aimed at modification of gene expression, is constantly growing, with more than 40 species already proven to be responsive. This technology has the ability to co-down-regulate the expression of several genes; however, this trait also makes it susceptible to non-target effects, which can be addressed using both available and developing bioinformatic tools. Moreover, the functionality of absorbed exogenous RNAi molecules, and the various classes of small RNAs found in fungi, offer great versatility and flexibility in acquiring the desired effects on gene expression, even without the necessity to genetically modify the targeted strain. There is an emerging role for RNAi as a potential tool for biotechnological applications. This is evident from current investigations in fungi, demonstrating the contribution of RNAi to progress research and applications in biomaterials production, bioconversion, plant fungal interactions and virulence factors of human pathogens. Possible problems and prospects for the use of RNAi in fungal biotechnology are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)501-512
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • RNA interference (RNAi)
  • RNA silencing


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