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Genes Dev. 2009 Mar 1;23(5):549-54. doi: 10.1101/gad.1770009.

Pattern formation via small RNA mobility.

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  • 1Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York 11724, USA.


MicroRNAs and trans-acting siRNAs (ta-siRNAs) have important regulatory roles in development. Unlike other developmentally important regulatory molecules, small RNAs are not known to act as mobile signals during development. Here, we show that low-abundant, conserved ta-siRNAs, termed tasiR-ARFs, move intercellularly from their defined source of biogenesis on the upper (adaxial) side of leaves to the lower (abaxial) side to create a gradient of small RNAs that patterns the abaxial determinant AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR3. Our observations have important ramifications for the function of small RNAs and suggest they can serve as mobile, instructive signals during development.

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