DICER-LIKE 4 functions in trans-acting small interfering RNA biogenesis and vegetative phase change in Arabidopsis thaliana

Zhixin Xie, Edwards Allen, April Wilken, James C. Carrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

391 Scopus citations

Abstract

Arabidopsis thaliana contains four DICER-LIKE (DCL) genes with specialized functions in small RNA biogenesis for RNA interference-related processes. A mutant with defects in DCL4 was identified and analyzed for microRNA- and endogenous, small interfering RNA (siRNA)-related functions. The dcl4-2 mutant contained normal or near-normal levels of microRNAs (21 nt) and heterochromatin-associated siRNAs (24 nt). In contrast, this mutant lacked each of three families of 21-nt trans-acting siRNAs (ta-siRNAs) and possessed elevated levels of ta-siRNA target transcripts. The dcl4-2 mutant resembled an rna-dependent RNA polymerase 6 mutant in that both mutants lacked ta-siRNAs and displayed heterochronic defects in which vegetative phase change was accelerated. Double mutant analyses with dcl2-1, dcl3-1, and dcl4-2 alleles revealed hierarchical redundancy among DCL activities, leading to alternative processing of ta-siRNA precursors in the absence of DCL4. These data support the concept that plants have specialized and compartmentalized DCL functions for biogenesis of distinct small RNA classes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12984-12989
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume102
Issue number36
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 6 2005

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