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Science. 2005 Apr 1;308(5718):118-20. Epub 2005 Feb 3.

RNA polymerase IV directs silencing of endogenous DNA.

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  • 1Sainsbury Laboratory, John Innes Centre, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK.


Plants encode subunits for a fourth RNA polymerase (Pol IV) in addition to the well-known DNA-dependent RNA polymerases I, II, and III. By mutation of the two largest subunits (NRPD1a and NRPD2), we show that Pol IV silences certain transposons and repetitive DNA in a short interfering RNA pathway involving RNA-dependent RNA polymerase 2 and Dicer-like 3. The existence of this distinct silencing polymerase may explain the paradoxical involvement of an RNA silencing pathway in maintenance of transcriptional silencing.

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