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Plant Cell. 2019 Sep 27. pii: tpc.00395.2019. doi: 10.1105/tpc.19.00395. [Epub ahead of print]

MicroRNA Dynamics and Functions During Arabidopsis Embryogenesis.

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Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology CITY: Vienna Austria [AT].
Gregor Mendel Institute CITY: Vienna STATE: Austria POSTAL_CODE: 1030 Austria [AT].
Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology, Austrian Academy of Sciences CITY: Vienna Austria [AT].
Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology CITY: Vienna POSTAL_CODE: 1030 Austria [AT]


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs that mediate the repression of target transcripts in plants and animals. Although miRNAs are required throughout plant development, relatively little is known regarding their embryonic functions. To systematically characterize embryonic miRNAs in Arabidopsis thaliana, we developed or applied high-throughput sequencing based methods to profile hundreds of miRNAs and associated targets throughout embryogenesis. We discovered dozens of miRNAs that dynamically cleave and repress target transcripts including 30 that encode transcription factors. Transcriptome analyses indicated that these miRNA:target interactions have a profound impact on embryonic gene expression programs, and we further demonstrated that the miRNA-mediated repression of six transcription factors were individually required for embryo morphogenesis. These data indicate that the miRNA-directed repression of multiple transcription factors is critically important for the establishment of the plant body plan, and provide a foundation to further investigate how miRNAs contribute to these initial cellular differentiation events.

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