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Nucleic Acids Res. 2017 May 19;45(9):5142-5152. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkx103.

tRNA-derived small RNAs target transposable element transcripts.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Genetics and Center for RNA Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, 43210 OH, USA.
2
Department of Plant Biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Linnean Center of Plant Biology, 75007 Uppsala, Sweden.
3
Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program, The Ohio State University, Columbus, 43210 OH, USA.
4
Center for RNA Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, 43210 OH, USA.

Abstract

tRNA-derived RNA fragments (tRFs) are 18-26 nucleotide small RNAs that are not random degradation products, but are rather specifically cleaved from mature tRNA transcripts. Abundant in stressed or viral-infected cells, the function and potential targets of tRFs are not known. We identified that in the unstressed wild-type male gamete containing pollen of flowering plants, and analogous reproductive structure in non-flowering plant species, tRFs accumulate to high levels. In the reference plant Arabidopsis thaliana, tRFs are processed by Dicer-like 1 and incorporated into Argonaute1 (AGO1), akin to a microRNA. We utilized the fact that many plant small RNAs direct cleavage of their target transcripts to demonstrate that the tRF-AGO1 complex acts to specifically target and cleave endogenous transposable element (TE) mRNAs produced from transcriptionally active TEs. The data presented here demonstrate that tRFs are bona-fide regulatory microRNA-like small RNAs involved in the regulation of genome stability through the targeting of TE transcripts.

PMID:
28335016
PMCID:
PMC5605234
DOI:
10.1093/nar/gkx103
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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