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Creators/Authors contains: "Gregory, Brian D."

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 4, 2023
  2. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are an increasingly studied group of non-protein coding transcripts with a wide variety of molecular functions gaining attention for their roles in numerous biological processes. Nearly 6,000 lncRNAs have been identified in Arabidopsis thaliana but many have yet to be studied. Here, we examine a class of previously uncharacterized lncRNAs termed CONSERVED IN BRASSICA RAPA ( lncCOBRA ) transcripts that were previously identified for their high level of sequence conservation in the related crop species Brassica rapa , their nuclear-localization and protein-bound nature. In particular, we focus on lncCOBRA1 and demonstrate that its abundance is highly tissue and developmental specific, with particularly high levels early in germination. lncCOBRA1 contains two snoRNAs domains within it, making it the first sno-lincRNA example in a non-mammalian system. However, we find that it is processed differently than its mammalian counterparts. We further show that plants lacking lncCOBRA1 display patterns of delayed germination and are overall smaller than wild-type plants. Lastly, we identify the proteins that interact with lncCOBRA1 and propose a novel mechanism of lincRNA action in which it may act as a scaffold with the RACK1A protein to regulate germination and development, possibly through a role in ribosome biogenesis.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 25, 2023
  3. RNA silencing pathways control eukaryotic gene expression transcriptionally or posttranscriptionally in a sequence-specific manner. In RNA silencing, the production of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) gives rise to various classes of 20–24 nucleotide (nt) small RNAs (smRNAs). In Arabidopsis thaliana, smRNAs are often derived from long dsRNA molecules synthesized by one of the six genomically encoded RNA-dependent RNA Polymerase (RDR) proteins. However, the full complement of the RDR-dependent smRNAs and functions that these proteins and their RNA-binding cofactors play in plant RNA silencing has not been fully uncovered. To address this gap, we performed a global genomic analysis of all six RDRs and two of their cofactors to find new substrates for RDRs and targets of the resulting RDR-derived siRNAs to uncover new functions for these proteins in plants. Based on these analyses, we identified substrates for the three RDRγ clade proteins (RDR3–5), which had not been well-characterized previously. We also identified new substrates for the other three RDRs (RDR1, RDR2, and RDR6) as well as the RDR2 cofactor RNA-directed DNA methylation 12 (RDM12) and the RDR6 cofactor suppressor of gene silencing 3 (SGS3). These findings revealed that the target substrates of SGS3 are not limited to those solely utilized by RDR6,more »but that this protein seems to be a more general cofactor for the RDR family of proteins. Additionally, we found that RDR6 and SGS3 are involved in the production of smRNAs that target transcripts related to abiotic stresses, including water deprivation, salt stress, and ABA response, and as expected the levels of these mRNAs are increased in rdr6 and sgs3 mutant plants. Correspondingly, plants that lack these proteins (rdr6 and sgs3 mutants) are hypersensitive to ABA treatment, tolerant to high levels of PEG8000, and have a higher survival rate under salt treatment in comparison to wild-type plants. In total, our analyses have provided an extremely data-rich resource for uncovering new functions of RDR-dependent RNA silencing in plants, while also revealing a previously unexplored link between the RDR6/SGS3-dependent pathway and plant abiotic stress responses.« less
  4. Abstract Ribonucleotides within the various RNA molecules in eukaryotes are marked with more than 160 distinct covalent chemical modifications. These modifications include those that occur internally in messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules such as N6-methyladenosine (m6A) and 5-methylcytosine (m5C), as well as those that occur at the ends of the modified RNAs like the non-canonical 5′ end nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) cap modification of specific mRNAs. Recent findings have revealed that covalent RNA modifications can impact the secondary structure, translatability, functionality, stability and degradation of the RNA molecules in which they are included. Many of these covalent RNA additions have also been found to be dynamically added and removed through writer and eraser complexes, respectively, providing a new layer of epitranscriptome-mediated post-transcriptional regulation that regulates RNA quality and quantity in eukaryotic transcriptomes. Thus, it is not surprising that the regulation of RNA fate mediated by these epitranscriptomic marks has been demonstrated to have widespread effects on plant development and the responses of these organisms to abiotic and biotic stresses. In this review, we highlight recent progress focused on the study of the dynamic nature of these epitranscriptome marks and their roles in post-transcriptional regulation during plant development and response to environmentalmore »cues, with an emphasis on the mRNA modifications of non-canonical 5′ end NAD+ capping, m6A and several other internal RNA modifications.« less