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Dual regulation of Arabidopsis AGO2 by arginine methylation.

  • Author(s): Hu, Po;
  • Zhao, Hongwei;
  • Zhu, Pei;
  • Xiao, Yongsheng;
  • Miao, Weili;
  • Wang, Yinsheng;
  • Jin, Hailing
  • et al.

Argonaute (AGO) proteins are core components of RNA interference (RNAi) but the mechanisms of their regulation, especially at the post-translational level, remain unclear. Among the ten AGOs in Arabidopsis, only AGO2 is induced by bacterial infection and is known to positively regulate immunity. Here we show that the N-terminal domain of AGO2 is enriched with arginine-glycine RG/GR repeats, which are methylated by protein arginine methyltransferase5 (PRMT5). Arginine methylation has dual functions in AGO2 regulation. Methylated arginine residues can promote AGO2 protein degradation and are also bound by Tudor-domain proteins (TSNs), which can degrade AGO2-associated small RNAs (sRNAs). PRMT5 is down-regulated during infection and the prmt5 mutant is more resistant to bacteria. We speculate that reduced PRMT5 expression during infection may lead to reduced arginine methylation of AGO2, resulting in accumulation of both AGO2 and, via reduced interaction with TSNs, accumulation of AGO2-associated sRNAs, to promote plant immunity. These results reveal that both the arginine methylation writer (PRMT5) and readers (TSNs) can regulate AGO2-mediated RNAi.

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