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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2015 Dec;16(12):727-41. doi: 10.1038/nrm4085. Epub 2015 Nov 4.

The expanding world of small RNAs in plants.

Author information

1
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1 Bungtown Road, Cold Spring Harbor, New York 11724, USA.

Abstract

Plant genomes encode various small RNAs that function in distinct, yet overlapping, genetic and epigenetic silencing pathways. However, the abundance and diversity of small-RNA classes varies among plant species, suggesting coevolution between environmental adaptations and gene-silencing mechanisms. Biogenesis of small RNAs in plants is well understood, but we are just beginning to uncover their intricate regulation and activity. Here, we discuss the biogenesis of plant small RNAs, such as microRNAs, secondary siRNAs and heterochromatic siRNAs, and their diverse cellular and developmental functions, including in reproductive transitions, genomic imprinting and paramutation. We also discuss the diversification of small-RNA-directed silencing pathways through the expansion of RNA-dependent RNA polymerases, DICER proteins and ARGONAUTE proteins.

PMID:
26530390
PMCID:
PMC4948178
DOI:
10.1038/nrm4085
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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