The present invention provides a polynucleotide sequence encoding a component of the protein machinery involved in small RNA trafficking, Cucurbita maxima phloem small RNA-binding protein (CmPSRB 1), and the corresponding polypeptide sequence. The invention also provides genetic constructs and transgenic plants comprising the polynucleotide sequence encoding a phloem small RNA-binding protein to alter (e.g., prevent, reduce or elevate) non-cell autonomous signaling events in the plants involving small RNA metabolism. These signaling events are involved in a broad spectrum of plant physiological and biochemical processes, including, for example, systemic resistance to pathogens, responses to environmental stresses, e.g., heat, drought, salinity, and systemic gene silencing (e.g., viral infections).
This invention was made with Government support under Grant (or Contract) No. DE-FG03-94ER20134, awarded by the Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.