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Stress-induced endogenous siRNAs targeting regulatory intron sequences in Brachypodium

ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT: Exposure to abiotic stresses triggers global changes in the expression of thousands of eukaryotic genes at the transcriptional 70 and post-transcriptional levels. Small RNA (smRNA) pathways and splicing both function as crucial mechanisms regulating stress-responsive gene expression. However, examples of smRNAs regulating gene expression remain largely limited to effects on mRNA stability, translation, and epigenetic regulation. Also, our understanding of the networks controlling plant gene expression in response to environmental changes, and examples of these regulatory pathways intersecting, remains limited. Here, to investigate the role of smRNAs in stress responses we examined smRNA transcriptomes of Brachypodium distachyon plants subjected to various abiotic stresses. We found that exposure to different abiotic stresses specifically induced a group 75 of novel, endogenous small interfering RNAs (stress-induced, UTR-derived siRNAs, or sutr-siRNAs) that originate from the 3′ UTRs of a subset of coding genes. Our bioinformatics analyses predicted that sutr-siRNAs have potential regulatory functions and that over 90% of sutr-siRNAs target intronic regions of many mRNAs in trans. Importantly, a subgroup of these sutr- siRNAs target the important intron regulatory regions, such as branch point sequences, that could affect splicing. Our study indicates that in Brachypodium, sutr-siRNAs may affect splicing by masking or changing accessibility of specific cis-elements 80 through base-pairing interactions to mediate gene expression in response to stresses. We hypothesize that this mode of regulation of gene expression may also serve as a general mechanism for regulation of gene expression in plants and potentially in other eukaryotes. Analysis of smRNA populations in Brachypodium plants challenged by abiotic stresses: To profile the populations of smRNAs in the model monocot Brachypodium distachyon and examine their regulation in response to abiotic stresses, we conducted high-throughput sequencing of small RNAs from plants exposed to four different abiotic stress conditions, cold, heat (air), heat (water immersion), and salt, in the wild type Brachypodium cultivar Bd21. For our experiments we used information from the literature to select two time-points for stress durations, short and long, which differed for each stress: cold (6 and 24 hours), heat-air (1 and 3 hours), heat-water (1 and 3 hours), and salt (48 hours). We generated small RNA libraries for Illumina sequencing (GAII) from the leaves of Brachypodium plants subjected to stresses and selected smRNAs between 15 and 40 nt in length, which we mapped to the Brachypodium genome.

ORGANISM(S): Brachypodium distachyon  

SUBMITTER: Hsiao-Lin V. Wang   Julia A Chekanova  Hsiao-Lin V Wang 

PROVIDER: E-GEOD-55217 | ArrayExpress | 2015-01-20



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