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  1. Abstract

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important regulators of genes expression. Their levels are precisely controlled through modulating the activity of the microprocesser complex (MC). Here, we report that JANUS, a homology of the conserved U2 snRNP assembly factor in yeast and human, is required for miRNA accumulation. JANUS associates with MC components Dicer-like 1 (DCL1) and SERRATE (SE) and directly binds the stem-loop of pri-miRNAs. In a hypomorphic janus mutant, the activity of DCL1, the numbers of MC, and the interaction of primary miRNA transcript (pri-miRNAs) with MC are reduced. These data suggest that JANUS promotes the assembly and activity of MC through its interaction with MC and/or pri-miRNAs. In addition, JANUS modulates the transcription of some pri-miRNAs as it binds the promoter of pri-miRNAs and facilitates Pol II occupancy of at their promoters. Moreover, global splicing defects are detected in janus. Taken together, our study reveals a novel role of a conserved splicing factor in miRNA biogenesis.

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  2. Abstract DNA damage response (DDR) in eukaryotes is essential for the maintenance of genome integrity in challenging environments. The regulatory mechanisms of DDR have been well-established in yeast and humans. However, increasing evidence supports the idea that plants seem to employ different signaling pathways that remain largely unknown. Here, we report the role of MODIFIER OF SNC1, 4-ASSOCIATED COMPLEX SUBUNIT 5A (MAC5A) in DDR in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Lack of MAC5A in mac5a mutants causes hypersensitive phenotypes to methyl methanesulfonate (MMS), a DNA damage inducer. Consistent with this observation, MAC5A can regulate alternative splicing of DDR genes to maintain the proper response to genotoxic stress. Interestingly, MAC5A interacts with the 26S proteasome (26SP) and is required for its proteasome activity. MAC core subunits are also involved in MMS-induced DDR. Moreover, we find that MAC5A, the MAC core subunits, and 26SP may act collaboratively to mediate high-boron-induced growth repression through DDR. Collectively, our findings uncover the crucial role of MAC in MMS-induced DDR in orchestrating growth and stress adaptation in plants. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Structural materials have lagged behind other classes in the use of combinatorial and high-throughput (CHT) methods for rapid screening and alloy development. The dual complexities of composition and microstructure are responsible for this, along with the need to produce bulk-like, defect-free materials libraries. This review evaluates recent progress in CHT evaluations for structural materials. High-throughput computations can augment or replace experiments and accelerate data analysis. New synthesis methods, including additive manufacturing, can rapidly produce composition gradients or arrays of discrete alloys-on-demand in bulk form, and new experimental methods have been validated for nearly all essential structural materials properties. The remaining gaps are CHT measurement of bulk tensile strength, ductility, and melting temperature and production of microstructural libraries. A search strategy designed for structural materials gains efficiency by performing two layers of evaluations before addressing microstructure, and this review closes with a future vision of the autonomous, closed-loop CHT exploration of structural materials. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Materials Science, Volume 51 is August 2021. Please see for revised estimates. 
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  4. Abstract

    It is challenging to identify the smallest microexons (≤15-nt) due to their small size. Consequently, these microexons are often misannotated or missed entirely during genome annotation. Here, we develop a pipeline to accurately identify 2,398 small microexons in 10 diverse plant species using 990 RNA-seq datasets, and most of them have not been annotated in the reference genomes. Analysis reveals that microexons tend to have increased detained flanking introns that require post-transcriptional splicing after polyadenylation. Examination of 45 conserved microexon clusters demonstrates that microexons and associated gene structures can be traced back to the origin of land plants. Based on these clusters, we develop an algorithm to genome-wide model coding microexons in 132 plants and find that microexons provide a strong phylogenetic signal for plant organismal relationships. Microexon modeling reveals diverse evolutionary trajectories, involving microexon gain and loss and alternative splicing. Our work provides a comprehensive view of microexons in plants.

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  5. null (Ed.)
  6. MAC5 is a component of the conserved MOS4-associated complex. It plays critical roles in development and immunity. Here we report that MAC5 is required for microRNA (miRNA) biogenesis. MAC5 interacts with Serrate (SE), which is a core component of the microprocessor that processes primary miRNA transcripts (pri-miRNAs) into miRNAs and binds the stem-loop region of pri-miRNAs. MAC5 is essential for both the efficient processing and the stability of pri-miRNAs. Interestingly, the reduction of pri-miRNA levels inmac5is partially caused by XRN2/XRN3, the nuclear-localized 5′-to-3′ exoribonucleases, and depends on SE. These results reveal that MAC5 plays a dual role in promoting pri-miRNA processing and stability through its interaction with SE and/or pri-miRNAs. This study also uncovers that pri-miRNAs need to be protected from nuclear RNA decay machinery, which is connected to the microprocessor.

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  7. Small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) are the basal components of the spliceosome and play crucial roles in splicing. Their biogenesis is spatiotemporally regulated. However, related mechanisms are still poorly understood. Defective in snRNA processing (DSP1) is an essential component of the DSP1 complex that catalyzes plant snRNA 3′-end maturation by cotranscriptional endonucleolytic cleavage of the primary snRNA transcripts (presnRNAs). Here, we show thatDSP1is subjected to alternative splicing in pollens and embryos, resulting in two splicing variants,DSP1α andDSP1β. Unlike DSP1α, DSP1β is not required for presnRNA 3′-end cleavage. Rather, it competes with DSP1α for the interaction with CPSF73-I, the catalytic subunit of the DSP1 complex, which promotes efficient release of CPSF73-I and the DNA-dependent RNA polymerease II (Pol II) from the 3′ end of snRNA loci thereby facilitates snRNA transcription termination, resulting in increased snRNA levels in pollens. Taken together, this study uncovers a mechanism that spatially regulates snRNA accumulation.

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