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Title: Maternal small RNAs mediate spatial-temporal regulation of gene expression, imprinting, and seed development in Arabidopsis

Arabidopsisseed development involves maternal small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that induce RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) through theNRPD1-mediated pathway. To investigate their biological functions, we characterized siRNAs in the endosperm and seed coat that were separated by laser-capture microdissection (LCM) in reciprocal genetic crosses with annrpd1mutant. We also monitored the spatial-temporal activity of theNRPD1-mediated pathway on seed development using the AGO4:GFP::AGO4 (promoter:GFP::protein) reporter and promoter:GUS sensors of siRNA-mediated silencing. From these approaches, we identified four distinct groups of siRNA loci dependent on or independent of the maternalNRPD1allele in the endosperm or seed coat. A group of maternally expressedNRPD1-siRNA loci targets endosperm-preferred genes, including those encoding AGAMOUS-LIKE (AGL) transcription factors. Using translational promoter:AGL::GUS constructs as sensors, we demonstrate that spatial and temporal expression patterns of these genes in the endosperm are regulated by theNRPD1-mediated pathway irrespective of complete silencing (AGL91) or incomplete silencing (AGL40) of these target genes. Moreover, altered expression of these siRNA-targeted genes affects seed size. We propose that the corresponding maternal siRNAs could account for parent-of-origin effects on the endosperm in interploidy and hybrid crosses. These analyses reconcile previous studies on siRNAs and imprinted gene expression during seed development.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 2761-2766
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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