Endogenous and Synthetic MicroRNAs Stimulate Simultaneous, Efficient, and Localized Regulation of Multiple Targets in Diverse Species

Department of Plant Sciences, Weizman Institute of Science, Rehovot, 76100, Israel.
The Plant Cell (Impact Factor: 9.34). 06/2006; 18(5):1134-51. DOI: 10.1105/tpc.105.040725
Source: PubMed


Recent studies demonstrated that pattern formation in plants involves regulation of transcription factor families by microRNAs (miRNAs). To explore the potency, autonomy, target range, and functional conservation of miRNA genes, a systematic comparison between plants ectopically expressing pre-miRNAs and plants with corresponding multiple mutant combinations of target genes was performed. We show that regulated expression of several Arabidopsis thaliana pre-miRNA genes induced a range of phenotypic alterations, the most extreme ones being a phenocopy of combined loss of their predicted target genes. This result indicates quantitative regulation by miRNA as a potential source for diversity in developmental outcomes. Remarkably, custom-made, synthetic miRNAs vectored by endogenous pre-miRNA backbones also produced phenocopies of multiple mutant combinations of genes that are not naturally regulated by miRNA. Arabidopsis-based endogenous and synthetic pre-miRNAs were also processed effectively in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). Synthetic miR-ARF targeting Auxin Response Factors 2, 3, and 4 induced dramatic transformations of abaxial tissues into adaxial ones in all three species, which could not cross graft joints. Likewise, organ-specific expression of miR165b that coregulates the PHABULOSA-like adaxial identity genes induced localized abaxial transformations. Thus, miRNAs provide a flexible, quantitative, and autonomous platform that can be employed for regulated expression of multiple related genes in diverse species.

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Available from: Alexander Goldshmidt, Feb 16, 2015
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    • "Plant miRNAs target transcripts with highly complementary sequence through direct AGO-mediated endonucleolytic cleavage, or through other cleavage-independent mechanisms (Axtell, 2013). Artificial miRNAs (amiRNAs) can be produced accurately by modifying the miRNA/miRNA* sequence within a functional MIRNA precursor (Alvarez et al., 2006; Schwab et al., 2006). AmiRNAs have been used in plants to selectively and effectively knockdown reporter and endogenous genes, non-coding RNAs and viruses (Ossowski et al., 2008; Tiwari et al., 2014). "
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    ABSTRACT: Artificial microRNAs (amiRNAs) are used for selective gene silencing in plants. However, current methods to produce amiRNA constructs for silencing transcripts in monocot species are not suitable for simple, cost-effective and large-scale synthesis. Here, a series of expression vectors based on Oryza sativa MIR390 (OsMIR390) precursor was developed for high-throughput cloning and high expression of amiRNAs in monocots. Four different amiRNA sequences designed to target specifically endogenous genes and expressed from OsMIR390-based vectors were validated in transgenic Brachypodium distachyon plants. Surprisingly, amiRNAs accumulated to higher levels and were processed more accurately when expressed from chimeric OsMIR390-based precursors that include distal stem-loop sequences from Arabidopsis thaliana MIR390a (AtMIR390a). In all cases, transgenic plants displayed the predicted phenotypes induced by target gene repression, and accumulated high levels of amiRNAs and low levels of the corresponding target transcripts. Genome-wide transcriptome profiling combined with 5'-RLM-RACE analysis in transgenic plants confirmed that amiRNAs were highly specific. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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    • "The premiR-PIP1 and synthetic genes were synthesized by DNA 2.0, based on a premiR164 backbone (Alvarez et al., 2006). We used the Web-based mfold program ( to produce premiRNA stem-loop representations (Zuker, 2003). "
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