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Title: Beyond transcription factors: roles of mRNA decay in regulating gene expression in plants
Gene expression is typically quantified as RNA abundance, which is influenced by both synthesis (transcription) and decay. Cytoplasmic decay typically initiates by deadenylation, after which decay can occur through any of three cytoplasmic decay pathways. Recent advances reveal several mechanisms by which RNA decay is regulated to control RNA abundance. mRNA can be post-transcriptionally modified, either indirectly through secondary structure or through direct modifications to the transcript itself, sometimes resulting in subsequent changes in mRNA decay rates. mRNA abundances can also be modified by tapping into pathways normally used for RNA quality control. Regulated mRNA decay can also come about through post-translational modification of decapping complex subunits. Likewise, mRNAs can undergo changes in subcellular localization (for example, the deposition of specific mRNAs into processing bodies, or P-bodies, where stabilization and destabilization occur in a transcript- and context-dependent manner). Additionally, specialized functions of mRNA decay pathways were implicated in a genome-wide mRNA decay analysis in Arabidopsis. Advances made using plants are emphasized in this review, but relevant studies from other model systems that highlight RNA decay mechanisms that may also be conserved in plants are discussed.  more » « less
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