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.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Sep 6 2005|