Plant small RNAs (sRNAs) modulate key physiological mechanisms through post-transcriptional and transcriptional silencing of gene expression. Small RNAs fall into two major categories: those are reliant on RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RDRs) for biogenesis and those that are not. Known RDR1/2/6-dependent sRNAs include phased and repeat-associated short interfering RNAs, while known RDR1/2/6-independent sRNAs are primarily microRNAs (miRNA) and other hairpin-derived sRNAs. In this study we produced and analyzed sRNA-seq libraries from rdr1/rdr2/rdr6 triple mutant plants. We found 58 previously annotated miRNA loci that were reliant on RDR1, -2, or -6 function, casting doubt on their classification. We also found 38 RDR1/2/6-independent sRNA loci that are not MIRNAs or otherwise hairpin-derived, and did not fit into other known paradigms for sRNA biogenesis. These 38 sRNA-producing loci have as-yet-undescribed biogenesis mechanisms, and are frequently located in the vicinity of protein-coding genes. Altogether, our analysis suggests that these 38 loci represent one or more undescribed types of sRNA in Arabidopsis thaliana.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology