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FIERY1 promotes microRNA accumulation by suppressing rRNA-derived small interfering RNAs in Arabidopsis.

  • Author(s): You, Chenjiang
  • He, Wenrong
  • Hang, Runlai
  • Zhang, Cuiju
  • Cao, Xiaofeng
  • Guo, Hongwei
  • Chen, Xuemei
  • Cui, Jie
  • Mo, Beixin
  • et al.

Plant microRNAs (miRNAs) associate with ARGONAUTE1 (AGO1) to direct post-transcriptional gene silencing and regulate numerous biological processes. Although AGO1 predominantly binds miRNAs in vivo, it also associates with endogenous small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). It is unclear whether the miRNA/siRNA balance affects miRNA activities. Here we report that FIERY1 (FRY1), which is involved in 5'-3' RNA degradation, regulates miRNA abundance and function by suppressing the biogenesis of ribosomal RNA-derived siRNAs (risiRNAs). In mutants of FRY1 and the nuclear 5'-3' exonuclease genes XRN2 and XRN3, we find that a large number of 21-nt risiRNAs are generated through an endogenous siRNA biogenesis pathway. The production of risiRNAs correlates with pre-rRNA processing defects in these mutants. We also show that these risiRNAs are loaded into AGO1, causing reduced loading of miRNAs. This study reveals a previously unknown link between rRNA processing and miRNA accumulation.

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