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  1. 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
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 4, 2023
  3. Noctor, Graham (Ed.)
    Abstract The growth, survival, and productivity of plants are constantly challenged by diverse abiotic stresses. When plants are exposed to stress for the first time, they can capture molecular information and store it as a form of memory, which enables them to competently and rapidly respond to subsequent stress(es). This process is referred to as a priming-induced or acquired stress response. In this review, we discuss how (i) the storage and retrieval of the information from stress memory modulates plant physiological, cellular, and molecular processes in response to subsequent stress(es), (ii) the intensity, recurrence, and duration of priming stimuli influences the outcomes of the stress response, and (iii) the varying responses at different plant developmental stages. We highlight current understanding of the distinct and common molecular processes manifested at the epigenetic, (post-)transcriptional, and post-translational levels mediated by stress-associated molecules and metabolites, including phytohormones. We conclude by emphasizing how unravelling the molecular circuitry underlying diverse priming-stimuli-induced stress responses could propel the use of priming as a management practice for crop plants. This practice, in combination with precision agriculture, could aid in increasing yield quantity and quality to meet the rapidly rising demand for food.
  4. Drought differs from other natural disasters in several respects, largely because of the complexity of a crop’s response to it and also because we have the least understanding of a crop’s inductive mechanism for addressing drought tolerance among all abiotic stressors. Overall, the growth and productivity of crops at a global level is now thought to be an issue that is more severe and arises more frequently due to climatic change-induced drought stress. Among the major crops, rice is a frontline staple cereal crop of the developing world and is critical to sustaining populations on a daily basis. Worldwide, studies have reported a reduction in rice productivity over the years as a consequence of drought. Plants are evolutionarily primed to withstand a substantial number of environmental cues by undergoing a wide range of changes at the molecular level, involving gene, protein and metabolite interactions to protect the growing plant. Currently, an in-depth, precise and systemic understanding of fundamental biological and cellular mechanisms activated by crop plants during stress is accomplished by an umbrella of -omics technologies, such as transcriptomics, metabolomics and proteomics. This combination of multi-omics approaches provides a comprehensive understanding of cellular dynamics during drought or other stress conditionsmore »in comparison to a single -omics approach. Thus a greater need to utilize information (big-omics data) from various molecular pathways to develop drought-resilient crop varieties for cultivation in ever-changing climatic conditions. This review article is focused on assembling current peer-reviewed published knowledge on the use of multi-omics approaches toward expediting the development of drought-tolerant rice plants for sustainable rice production and realizing global food security.« less
  5. 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
  6. The superoxide dismutases (SODs) play vital roles in controlling cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are generated both under optimal as well as stress conditions in plants. The rice genome harbors seven SOD genes (CSD1, CSD2, CSD3, CSD4, FSD1, FSD2, and MSD) that encode seven constitutive transcripts. Of these, five (CSD2, CSD3, CSD4, FSD1, and MSD) utilizes an alternative splicing (AS) strategy and generate seven additional splice variants (SVs) or mRNA variants, i.e., three for CSD3, and one each for CSD2, CSD4, FSD1, and MSD. The exon-intron organization of these SVs revealed variations in the number and length of exons and/or untranslated regions (UTRs). We determined the expression patterns of SVs along with their constitutive forms of SODs in rice seedlings exposed to salt, osmotic, cold, heavy metal (Cu+2) stresses, as well as copper-deprivation. The results revealed that all seven SVs were transcriptionally active in both roots and shoots. When compared to their corresponding constitutive transcripts, the profiles of five SVs were almost similar, while two specific SVs (CSD3-SV4 and MSD-SV2) differed significantly, and the differences were also apparent between shoots and roots suggesting that the specific SVs are likely to play important roles in a tissue-specific and stress-specific manner.more »Overall, the present study has provided a comprehensive analysis of the SVs of SODs and their responses to stress conditions in shoots and roots of rice seedlings.« less