MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of short endogenous non-coding small RNA molecules that mediate gene regulation through RNA silencing at the post-transcriptional level and play an important role in the defense response during biotic and abiotic stress. Plant defense responses against pathogens are mediated by the activation and repression of a large array of genes. Host endogenous small RNAs are essential in this gene expression reprogramming process. In the recent years, data generated by high-throughput sequencing platform have uncovered the instant role of miRNAs in plants during fungal invasion. However, targets of these newly discovered as well as conserved miRNAs remain to be validated for their involvement during fungal infection in plants. Due to climatic variation worldwide, environmental stresses including potential plant diseases are predicted to become more severe and widespread in the future. Therefore, a better understanding of the mechanisms of miRNA-mediated disease progression in fungi should shed light on management strategies for crop diseases. Here we review the current progress made in the area of molecular crosstalk between host miRNAs and fungal invasion to understand the disease development.
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