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Nucleic Acids Res. 2013 Feb 1;41(3):1984-97. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks1309. Epub 2012 Dec 24.

STA1, an Arabidopsis pre-mRNA processing factor 6 homolog, is a new player involved in miRNA biogenesis.

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Department of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Life Science, University of Copenhagen, Thovanlsensvej 40, 1871 Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small regulatory RNAs that have important regulatory roles in numerous developmental and metabolic processes in most eukaryotes. In Arabidopsis, DICER-LIKE1 (DCL1), HYPONASTIC LEAVES 1, SERRATE, HUA ENHANCER1 and HASTY are involved in processing of primary miRNAs (pri-miRNAs) to yield precursor miRNAs (pre-miRNAs) and eventually miRNAs. In addition to these components, mRNA cap-binding proteins, CBP80/ABA HYPERSENSITIVE1 and CBP20, also participate in miRNA biogenesis. Here, we show that STABILIZED1 (STA1), an Arabidopsis pre-mRNA processing factor 6 homolog, is also involved in the biogenesis of miRNAs. Similar to other miRNA biogenesis-defective mutants, sta1-1 accumulated significantly lower levels of mature miRNAs and concurrently higher levels of pri-miRNAs than wild type. The dramatic reductions of mature miRNAs were associated with the accumulation of their target gene transcripts and developmental defects. Furthermore, sta1-1 impaired splicing of intron containing pri-miRNAs and decreased transcript levels of DCL1. These results suggest that STA1 is involved in miRNA biogenesis directly by functioning in pri-miRNA splicing and indirectly by modulating the DCL1 transcript level.

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