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Plant Cell. 2005 Nov;17(11):2873-85. Epub 2005 Oct 7.

Ectopic DICER-LIKE1 expression in P1/HC-Pro Arabidopsis rescues phenotypic anomalies but not defects in microRNA and silencing pathways.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina 29208, USA.


Expression of the viral silencing suppressor P1/HC-Pro in plants causes severe developmental anomalies accompanied by defects in both short interfering RNA (siRNA) and microRNA (miRNA) pathways. P1/HC-Pro transgenic lines fail to accumulate the siRNAs that mediate RNA silencing and are impaired in both miRNA processing and function, accumulating abnormally high levels of miRNA/miRNA* processing intermediates as well as miRNA target messages. Both miRNA and RNA silencing pathways require participation of DICER-LIKE (DCL) ribonuclease III-like enzymes. Here, we investigate the effects of overexpressing DCL1, one of four Dicers in Arabidopsis thaliana, on P1/HC-Pro-induced defects in development and small RNA metabolism. Expression of a DCL1 cDNA transgene (35S:DCL1) produced a mild gain-of-function phenotype and largely rescued dcl1 mutant phenotypes. The 35S:DCL1 plants were competent for virus-induced RNA silencing but were impaired in transgene-induced RNA silencing and in the accumulation of some miRNAs. Ectopic DCL1 largely alleviated developmental anomalies in P1/HC-Pro plants but did not correct the P1/HC-Pro-associated defects in small RNA pathways. The ability of P1/HC-Pro plants to suppress RNA silencing and the levels of miRNAs, miRNA*s, and miRNA target messages in these plants were essentially unaffected by ectopic DCL1. These data suggest that P1/HC-Pro defects in development do not result from general impairments in small RNA pathways and raise the possibility that DCL1 participates in processes in addition to miRNA biogenesis.

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