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Title: Ovule siRNAs methylate protein-coding genes in trans

Twenty-four-nucleotide (nt) small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) maintain asymmetric DNA methylation at thousands of euchromatic transposable elements in plant genomes in a process called RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM). RdDM is dispensable for growth and development in Arabidopsis thaliana, but is required for reproduction in other plants, such as Brassica rapa. The 24-nt siRNAs are abundant in maternal reproductive tissue, due largely to overwhelming expression from a few loci in the ovule and developing seed coat, termed siren loci. A recent study showed that 24-nt siRNAs produced in the anther tapetal tissue can methylate male meiocyte genes in trans. Here we show that in B. rapa, a similar process takes place in female tissue. siRNAs are produced from gene fragments embedded in some siren loci, and these siRNAs can trigger methylation in trans at related protein-coding genes. This trans-methylation is associated with silencing of some target genes and may be responsible for seed abortion in RdDM mutants. Furthermore, we demonstrate that a consensus sequence in at least two families of DNA transposons is associated with abundant siren expression, most likely through recruitment of CLASSY3, a putative chromatin remodeler. This research describes a mechanism whereby RdDM influences gene expression and sheds light on the role of RdDM during plant reproduction.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Plant Cell
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 3647-3664
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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