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Flores, R., Gago-Zachert, S., Serra, P., Sanjuán, R. & Elena, S. F. Viroids: Survivors from the RNA World? Annual Rev Microbiol 68, 395 - 414, (2014) DOI: 10.1146/annurev-micro-091313-103416

Because RNA can be a carrier of genetic information and a biocatalyst, there is a consensus that it emerged before DNA and proteins, which eventually assumed these roles and relegated RNA to intermediate functions. If such a scenario—the so-called RNA world—existed, we might hope to find its relics in our present world. The properties of viroids that make them candidates for being survivors of the RNA world include those expected for primitive RNA replicons: (a) small size imposed by error-prone replication, (b) high G+ C content to increase replication fidelity, (c) circular structure for assuring complete replication without genomic tags, (d) structural periodicity for modular assembly into enlarged genomes, (e) lack of protein-coding ability consistent with a ribosome-free habitat, and (f) replication mediated in some by ribozymes, the fingerprint of the RNA world. With the advent of DNA and proteins, those protoviroids lost some abilities and became the plant parasites we now know.


Costa, C.T., Strieder, M.L., Abel, S. & Delatorre, C.A. Phosphorus and nitrogen interaction: loss of QC identity in response to P or N limitation is anticipated in the pdr23 mutant Braz J Plant Physiol 23(3), 219-229, (2011)

Changes in root architecture are an important adaptive strategy used by plants in response to limited nutrient availability to increase the odds of acquiring them. The quiescent center (QC) plays an important role by altering the meristem activity causing differentiation and therefore, inducing a determinate growth program. The arabidopsis mutant pdr23 presents primary short root in the presence of nitrate and is inefficient in the use of nucleic acids as a source of phosphorus. In this study the effect of the pdr23 mutation on the QC maintenance under low phosphorus (P) and/or nitrogen is evaluated. QC identity is maintained in wild-type in the absence of nitrate and/or phosphate if nucleic acids can be used as an alternative source of these nutrients, but not in pdr23. The mutant is not able to use nucleic acids efficiently for substitute Pi, determinate growth is observed, similar to wild-type in the total absence of P. In the absence of N pdr23 loses the expression of QC identity marker earlier than wild-type, indicating that not only the response to P is altered, but also to N. The data suggest that the mutation affects a gene involved either in the crosstalk between these nutrients or in a pathway shared by both nutrients limitation response. Moreover loss of QC identity is also observed in wild-type in the absence of N at longer limitation. Less drastic symptoms are observed in lateral roots of both genotypes.
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