[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RNA silencing is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism triggered by double-stranded RNA that is processed into 21- to 24-nt small interfering (si)RNA or micro (mi)RNA by RNaseIII-like enzymes called Dicers. Gene regulations by RNA silencing have fundamental implications in a large number of biological processes that include antiviral defense, maintenance of genome integrity and the orchestration of cell fates. Although most generic or core components of the various plant small RNA pathways have been likely identified over the past 15 years, factors involved in RNAi regulation through post-translational modifications are just starting to emerge, mostly through forward genetic studies. A genetic screen designed to identify factors required for RNAi in Arabidopsis identified the serine/threonine protein kinase, TOUSLED (TSL). Mutations in TSL affect exogenous and virus-derived siRNA activity in a manner dependent upon its kinase activity. By contrast, despite their pleiotropic developmental phenotype, tsl mutants show no defect in biogenesis or activity of miRNA or endogenous trans-acting siRNA. These data suggest a possible role for TSL phosphorylation in the specific regulation of exogenous and antiviral RNA silencing in Arabidopsis and identify TSL as an intrinsic regulator of RNA interference.
Nucleic Acids Research 06/2014; 42(12):7971-7980. · 8.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plant viruses encode RNA silencing suppressors (VSRs) to counteract the antiviral RNA silencing response. Based on in-vitro studies, several VSRs were proposed to suppress silencing through direct binding of short-interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Because their expression also frequently hinders endogenous miRNA-mediated regulation and stabilizes labile miRNA* strands, VSRs have been assumed to prevent both siRNA and miRNA loading into their common effector protein, AGO1, through sequestration of small RNA (sRNA) duplexes in vivo. These assumptions, however, have not been formally tested experimentally. Here, we present a systematic in planta analysis comparing the effects of four distinct VSRs in Arabidopsis. While all of the VSRs tested compromised loading of siRNAs into AGO1, only P19 was found to concurrently prevent miRNA loading, consistent with a VSR strategy primarily based on sRNA sequestration. By contrast, we provide multiple lines of evidence that the action of the other VSRs tested is unlikely to entail siRNA sequestration, indicating that in-vitro binding assays and in-vivo miRNA* stabilization are not reliable indicator of VSR action. The contrasted effects of VSRs on siRNA versus miRNA loading into AGO1 also imply the existence of two distinct pools of cellular AGO1 that are specifically loaded by each class of sRNAs. These findings have important implications for our current understanding of RNA silencing and of its suppression in plants.
The EMBO Journal 04/2012; 31(11):2553-65. · 9.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plant and metazoan microRNAs (miRNAs) guide ARGONAUTE (AGO) protein complexes to regulate expression of complementary RNAs via base pairing. In the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the main miRNA effector is AGO1, but few other factors required for miRNA activity are known. Here, we isolate the genes defined by the previously described miRNA action deficient (mad) mutants, mad3 and mad4. Both genes encode enzymes involved in isoprenoid biosynthesis. MAD3 encodes 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase (HMG1), which functions in the initial C(5) building block biogenesis that precedes isoprenoid metabolism. HMG1 is a key regulatory enzyme that controls the amounts of isoprenoid end products. MAD4 encodes sterol C-8 isomerase (HYDRA1) that acts downstream in dedicated sterol biosynthesis. Using yeast complementation assays and in planta application of lovastatin, a competitive inhibitor of HMG1, we show that defects in HMG1 catalytic activity are sufficient to inhibit miRNA activity. Many isoprenoid derivatives are indispensable structural and signaling components, and especially sterols are essential membrane constituents. Accordingly, we provide evidence that AGO1 is a peripheral membrane protein. Moreover, specific hypomorphic mutant alleles of AGO1 display compromised membrane association and AGO1-membrane interaction is reduced upon knockdown of HMG1/MAD3. These results suggest a possible basis for the requirement of isoprenoid biosynthesis for the activity of plant miRNAs, and unravel mechanistic features shared with their metazoan counterparts.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2012; 109(5):1778-83. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Selective protein degradation via the ubiquitin-26S proteasome is a major mechanism underlying DNA replication and cell division in all Eukaryotes. In particular, the APC/C (Anaphase Promoting Complex or Cyclosome) is a master ubiquitin protein ligase (E3) that targets regulatory proteins for degradation allowing sister chromatid separation and exit from mitosis. Interestingly, recent work also indicates that the APC/C remains active in differentiated animal and plant cells. However, its role in post-mitotic cells remains elusive and only a few substrates have been characterized.
In order to identify novel APC/C substrates, we performed a yeast two-hybrid screen using as the bait Arabidopsis APC10/DOC1, one core subunit of the APC/C, which is required for substrate recruitment. This screen identified DRB4, a double-stranded RNA binding protein involved in the biogenesis of different classes of small RNA (sRNA). This protein interaction was further confirmed in vitro and in plant cells. Moreover, APC10 interacts with DRB4 through the second dsRNA binding motif (dsRBD2) of DRB4, which is also required for its homodimerization and binding to its Dicer partner DCL4. We further showed that DRB4 protein accumulates when the proteasome is inactivated and, most importantly, we found that DRB4 stability depends on APC/C activity. Hence, depletion of Arabidopsis APC/C activity by RNAi leads to a strong accumulation of endogenous DRB4, far beyond its normal level of accumulation. However, we could not detect any defects in sRNA production in lines where DRB4 was overexpressed.
Our work identified a first plant substrate of the APC/C, which is not a regulator of the cell cycle. Though we cannot exclude that APC/C-dependent degradation of DRB4 has some regulatory roles under specific growth conditions, our work rather points to a housekeeping function of APC/C in maintaining precise cellular-protein concentrations and homeostasis of DRB4.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e35173. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the plant RNA interference (RNAi) pathway, 21-nucleotide duplexes of small interfering RNA (siRNA) are processed from longer double-stranded RNA precursors by the RNaseIII Dicer-like 4 (DCL4). Single-stranded siRNAs then guide Argonaute 1 (AGO1) to execute posttranscriptional silencing of complementary target RNAs. RNAi is not cell-autonomous in higher plants, but the nature of the mobile nucleic acid(s) signal remains unknown. Using cell-specific rescue of DCL4 function and cell-specific inhibition of RNAi movement, we genetically establish that exogenous and endogenous siRNAs, as opposed to their precursor molecules, act as mobile silencing signals between plant cells. We further demonstrate physical movement of mechanically delivered, labeled siRNA duplexes that functionally recapitulate transgenic RNAi spread. Cell-to-cell movement is unlikely to involve AGO1-bound siRNA single strands, but instead likely involves siRNA duplexes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent work on metazoans has uncovered the existence of an endogenous RNA-silencing pathway that functionally recapitulates the effects of experimental RNA interference (RNAi) used for gene knockdown in organisms such as Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila. The endogenous short interfering (si)RNA involved in this pathway are processed by Dicer-like nucleases from genomic loci re-arranged to form extended inverted repeats (IRs) that produce perfect or near-perfect dsRNA molecules. Although such IR loci are commonly detected in plant genomes, their genetics, evolution and potential contribution to plant biology through endogenous silencing have remained largely unexplored. Through an exhaustive analysis performed using Arabidopsis, we provide here evidence that at least two such endogenous IRs are genetically virtually indistinguishable from the transgene constructs commonly used for RNAi in plants. We show how these loci can be useful probes of the cellular mechanism and fluidity of RNA-silencing pathways in plants, and provide evidence that they may arise and disappear on an ecotype scale, show highly cell-specific expression patterns and respond to various stresses. IR loci thus have the potential to act as molecular sensors of the local environments found within distinct ecological plant niches. We further show that the various siRNA size classes produced by at least one of these IR loci are functionally loaded into cognate effector proteins and mediate both post-transcriptional gene silencing and RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) of endogenous as well as exogenous targets. Finally, and as previously reported during plant experimental RNAi, we provide evidence that endogenous IR-derived siRNAs of all size classes are not cell-autonomous and can be transported through graft junctions over long distances, in target tissues where they are functional, at least in mediating RdDM. Collectively, these results define the existence of a bona fide, endogenous and systemic RNAi pathway in plants that may have implications in adaptation, epiallelism and trans-generational memory.
The EMBO Journal 04/2010; 29(10):1699-712. · 9.82 Impact Factor