AGO4 is specifically required for heterochromatic siRNA accumulation at Pol V-dependent loci in Arabidopsis thaliana

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12 Scopus citations

Abstract

In plants, 24 nucleotide long heterochromatic siRNAs (het-siRNAs) transcriptionally regulate gene expression by RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM). The biogenesis of most het-siRNAs depends on the plant-specific RNA polymerase IV (Pol IV), and ARGONAUTE4 (AGO4) is a major het-siRNA effector protein. Through genome-wide analysis of sRNA-seq data sets, we found that AGO4 is required for the accumulation of a small subset of het-siRNAs. The accumulation of AGO4-dependent het-siRNAs also requires several factors known to participate in the effector portion of the RdDM pathway, including RNA POLYMERASE V (POL V), DOMAINS REARRANGED METHYLTRANSFERASE 2 (DRM2) and SAWADEE HOMEODOMAIN HOMOLOGUE 1 (SHH1). Like many AGO proteins, AGO4 is an endonuclease that can ‘slice’ RNAs. We found that a slicing-defective AGO4 was unable to fully recover AGO4-dependent het-siRNA accumulation from ago4 mutant plants. Collectively, our data suggest that AGO4-dependent siRNAs are secondary siRNAs dependent on the prior activity of the RdDM pathway at certain loci.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Journal
Volume90
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

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