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RNA Biol. 2018;15(7):886-891. doi: 10.1080/15476286.2018.1481695. Epub 2018 Jul 14.

The plastid-nucleus located DNA/RNA binding protein WHIRLY1 regulates microRNA-levels during stress in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.).

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a Department of Gene Expression, Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology , Adam Mickiewicz University , Poznań , Poland.
b Institute for Integrative Biology of the Cell, Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives Saclay, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique , Université Paris-Sud, Université Paris-Saclay , Gif-sur-Yvette , France.
c Institute of Botany , Christian-Albrechts-University , Kiel , Germany.
d Department of Physiology and Cell Biology , Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) , Seeland OT Gatersleben , Germany.


In this article a novel mechanism of retrograde signaling by chloroplasts during stress is described. This mechanism involves the DNA/RNA binding protein WHIRLY1 as a regulator of microRNA levels. By virtue of its dual localization in chloroplasts and the nucleus of the same cell, WHIRLY1 was proposed as an excellent candidate coordinator of chloroplast function and nuclear gene expression. Comparison of wild-type and transgenic plants with an RNAi-mediated knockdown of WHIRLY1 showed, that the transgenic plants were unable to cope with continuous high light conditions. They were impaired in production of several microRNAs mediating post-transcriptional responses during stress. The results support a central role of WHIRLY1 in retrograde signaling and also underpin a so far underestimated role of microRNAs in this process.


Retrograde signaling; small RNA; stress response

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