Novel Meiotic miRNAs and Indications for a Role of PhasiRNAs in Meiosis.
ABSTRACT: Small RNAs (sRNA) add additional layers to the regulation of gene expression, with siRNAs directing gene silencing at the DNA level by RdDM (RNA-directed DNA methylation), and micro RNAs (miRNAs) directing post-transcriptional regulation of specific target genes, mostly by mRNA cleavage. We used manually isolated male meiocytes from maize (Zea mays) to investigate sRNA and DNA methylation landscapes during zygotene, an early stage of meiosis during which steps of meiotic recombination and synapsis of paired homologous chromosomes take place. We discovered two novel miRNAs from meiocytes, zma-MIR11969 and zma-MIR11970, and identified putative target genes. Furthermore, we detected abundant phasiRNAs of 21 and 24 nt length. PhasiRNAs are phased small RNAs which occur in 21 or 24 nt intervals, at a few hundred loci, specifically in male reproductive tissues in grasses. So far, the function of phasiRNAs remained elusive. Data from isolated meiocytes now revealed elevated DNA methylation at phasiRNA loci, especially in the CHH context, suggesting a role for phasiRNAs in cis DNA methylation. In addition, we consider a role of these phasiRNAs in chromatin remodeling/dynamics during meiosis. However, this is not well supported yet and will need more additional data. Here, we only lay out the idea due to other relevant literature and our additional observation of a peculiar GC content pattern at phasiRNA loci. Chromatin remodeling is also indicated by the discovery that histone genes were enriched for sRNA of 22 nt length. Taken together, we gained clues that lead us to hypothesize sRNA-driven DNA methylation and possibly chromatin remodeling during male meiosis in the monocot maize which is in line with and extends previous knowledge.
Project description:Maize anthers, the male reproductive floral organs, express two classes of phased small-interfering RNAs (phasiRNAs). PhasiRNA precursors are transcribed by RNA polymerase II and map to low-copy, intergenic regions similar to PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) in mammalian testis. From 10 sequential cohorts of staged maize anthers plus mature pollen we find that 21-nt phased siRNAs from 463 loci appear abruptly after germinal and initial somatic cell fate specification and then diminish, whereas 24-nt phasiRNAs from 176 loci coordinately accumulate during meiosis and persist as anther somatic cells mature and haploid gametophytes differentiate into pollen. Male-sterile ocl4 anthers defective in epidermal signaling lack 21-nt phasiRNAs. Male-sterile mutants with subepidermal defects--mac1 (excess meiocytes), ms23 (defective pretapetal cells), and msca1 (no normal soma or meiocytes)--lack 24-nt phasiRNAs. ameiotic1 mutants (normal soma, no meiosis) accumulate both 21-nt and 24-nt phasiRNAs, ruling out meiotic cells as a source or regulator of phasiRNA biogenesis. By in situ hybridization, miR2118 triggers of 21-nt phasiRNA biogenesis localize to epidermis; however, 21-PHAS precursors and 21-nt phasiRNAs are abundant subepidermally. The miR2275 trigger, 24-PHAS precursors, and 24-nt phasiRNAs all accumulate preferentially in tapetum and meiocytes. Therefore, each phasiRNA type exhibits independent spatiotemporal regulation with 21-nt premeiotic phasiRNAs dependent on epidermal and 24-nt meiotic phasiRNAs dependent on tapetal cell differentiation. Maize phasiRNAs and mammalian piRNAs illustrate putative convergent evolution of small RNAs in male reproduction.
Project description:In grasses, phased small interfering RNAs (phasiRNAs), 21- or 24-nucleotide (nt) in length, are predominantly expressed in anthers and play a role in regulating male fertility. However, their targets and mode of action on the targets remain unknown. Here we profile phasiRNA expression in premeiotic and meiotic spikelets as well as in purified male meiocytes at early prophase I, tetrads and microspores in rice. We show that 21-nt phasiRNAs are most abundant in meiocytes at early prophase I while 24-nt phasiRNAs are more abundant in tetrads and microspores. By performing highly sensitive degradome sequencing, we find that 21-nt phasiRNAs direct target mRNA cleavage in male germ cells, especially in meiocytes at early prophase I. These targets include 435 protein-coding genes and 71 transposons that show an enrichment for carbohydrate biosynthetic and metabolic pathways. Our study provides strong evidence that 21-nt phasiRNAs act in a target-cleavage mode and may facilitate the progression of meiosis by fine-tuning carbohydrate biosynthesis and metabolism in male germ cells.
Project description:Small RNAs are key regulators in plant growth and development. One subclass, phased siRNAs (phasiRNAs) require a trigger microRNA for their biogenesis. In grasses, two pathways yield abundant phasiRNAs during anther development; miR2275 triggers one class, 24-nt phasiRNAs, coincident with meiosis, while a second class of 21-nt phasiRNAs are present in premeiotic anthers. Here we report that the 24-nt phasiRNA pathway is widely present in flowering plants, indicating that 24-nt reproductive phasiRNAs likely originated with the evolutionary emergence of anthers. Deep comparative genomic analyses demonstrated that this miR2275/24-nt phasiRNA pathway is widely present in eudicots plants, however, it is absent in legumes and in the model plant Arabidopsis, demonstrating a dynamic evolutionary history of this pathway. In Solanaceae species, 24-nt phasiRNAs were observed, but the miR2275 trigger is missing and some loci displaying 12-nt phasing. Both the miR2275-triggered and Solanaceae 24-nt phasiRNAs are enriched in meiotic stages, implicating these phasiRNAs in anther and/or pollen development, a spatiotemporal pattern consistent in all angiosperm lineages that deploy them.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Argonaute proteins (AGOs) are important players in the regulation of plant development by directing sRNAs to target mRNAs. In maize (Zea mays), AGO18b is a tassel-enriched and grass-specific AGO. Previous studies have shown that AGO18b is highly expressed in tassels during meiosis and negatively regulates determinacy of spikelet meristems. However, binding profile on RNAs and acting mechanisms of AGO18b remain unknown. RESULTS:In this study, we explored the binding profile of AGO18b in maize tassel by UV cross-linking RNA immunoprecipitation, followed by deep sequencing of these cDNA libraries (cRIP-seq), and systematically studied AGO18b-associated small RNAs and mRNAs by bioinformatics analysis. By globally analyzing the phased small-interfering RNA (phasiRNA) and miRNA abundance bound by AGO18b, we found AGO18b primarily binds to 21-nt phasiRNAs/miRNAs with a 5'-uridine and binds less strongly to 24-nt phasiRNAs with a 5'-adenosine in the premeiotic tassels. The abundance profile of AGO18b-associated miRNAs was different from their expression profile. Moreover, AGO18b strongly binds to miR166a-3p. We then obtained the AGO18b-bound mRNA targets of miR166a-3p by cRIP-seq, and confirmed the molecular function of AGO18b in regulating spikelet meristems. CONCLUSIONS:Our results indicated that AGO18b binds to phasiRNAs with obvious 5 prime end bias under different sRNA length. MiRNAs and their target mRNAs associated with AGO18b indicated the molecular mechanisms of AGO18b as a negative regulator of inflorescence meristem and tassel development through integrating both phasiRNAs and miRNA pathways, which extended our view of sRNA regulation in flower development and provided potential methods to control pollination in the future.
Project description:Potato virus Y (PVY) isolate PVYC-to induces growth reduction and foliar symptoms in tomato, but new vegetation displays symptom recovery at a later stage. In order to investigate the role of micro(mi)RNA and secondary small(s)RNA-regulated mechanisms in tomato defenses against PVY, we performed sRNA sequencing from healthy and PVYC-to infected tomato plants at 21 and 30 days post-inoculation (dpi). A total of 792 miRNA sequences were obtained, among which were 123 canonical miRNA sequences, many isomiR variants, and 30 novel miRNAs. MiRNAs were mostly overexpressed in infected vs. healthy plants, whereas only a few miRNAs were underexpressed. Increased accumulation of isomiRs was correlated with viral infection. Among miRNA targets, enriched functional categories included resistance (R) gene families, transcription and hormone factors, and RNA silencing genes. Several 22-nt miRNAs were shown to target R genes and trigger the production of 21-nt phased sRNAs (phasiRNAs). Next, 500 phasiRNA-generating loci were identified, and were shown to be mostly active in PVY-infected tissues and at 21 dpi. These data demonstrate that sRNA-regulated host responses, encompassing miRNA alteration, diversification within miRNA families, and phasiRNA accumulation, regulate R and disease-responsive genes. The dynamic regulation of miRNAs and secondary sRNAs over time suggests a functional role of sRNA-mediated defenses in the recovery phenotype.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Phased small interfering RNA (phasiRNA) is primarily derived from the 22-nt miRNA targeting loci. GhMYB2, a gene with potential roles in cotton fiber cell fate determination, is a target gene of miR828 and miR858 in the generation of phasiRNAs. RESULTS:In the presented work, through the evaluation of phasing scores and phasiRNA distribution pattern, we found that phasiRNAs from GhMYB2 were derived from the 3' cleavage fragments of 22-nt miR828 and 21-nt miR858 respectively. These two miRNA targeting sites initiated two phasing frames on transcripts of one locus. By means of RNA ligase-mediated rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RLM-RACE), we further demonstrated that phasiRNAs derived from the two phasing frames played a role in cis-regulation of GhMYB2. The phasiRNAs derived from GhMYB2 were expressed in the somatic tissues, especially in anther and hypocotyl. We further employed our previous small RNA sequencing data as well as the degradome data of cotton fiber bearing ovules, anthers, hypocotyls and embryogenic calli tissues published in public databases, to validate the expression, phasing pattern and functions of phasiRNAs. CONCLUSIONS:The presenting research provide insights of the molecular mechanism of phasiRNAs in regulation of GhMYB2 loci.
Project description:Gene regulation involves the orchestrated action of multiple regulators to fine-tune the expression of genes. Hierarchical interactions and co-regulation among regulators are commonly observed in biological systems, leading to complex regulatory networks. Small RNA (sRNAs) have been shown to be important regulators of gene expression due to their involvement in multiple cellular processes. In plants, microRNA (miRNAs) and phased small interfering RNAs (phasiRNAs) correspond to two well-characterized types of sRNAs involved in the regulation of posttranscriptional gene expression, although information about their targets and interactions with other gene expression regulators is limited. We describe an extended sRNA-mediated regulatory network in Arabidopsis thaliana that provides a reference frame to understand sRNA biogenesis and activity at the genome-wide level. This regulatory network combines a comprehensive evaluation of phasiRNA production and sRNA targets supported by degradome data. The network includes ~17% of genes in the A. thaliana genome, representing ~50% annotated gene ontology (GO) functional categories. Approximately 14% of genes with GO annotations corresponding to regulation of gene expression were found to be under sRNA control. The unbiased bioinformatic approach used to produce the network was able to detect 107 PHAS loci (regions of phasiRNA production), 5,047 active phasiRNAs (~70% of which were non-canonical), and reconstruct 17 regulatory modules resulting from complex regulatory interactions between different sRNA-regulatory pathways. Known regulatory modules like miR173-TAS-PPR/TPR and miR390-TAS3-ARF/F-box were faithfully reconstructed and expanded, illustrating the accuracy and sensitivity of the methods and providing confidence for the validity of findings of previously unrecognized modules. The network presented here includes a 2X increase in the number of identified PHAS loci, a large complement (~70%) of non-canonical phasiRNAs, and the most comprehensive evaluation of sRNA cleavage activity in A. thaliana to date. Structural analysis showed similarities to networks of other biological systems and demonstrated connectivity between phasiRNA regulatory modules with extensive co-regulation of transcripts by miRNAs and phasiRNAs. The described regulatory network provides a reference that will facilitate global analyses of individual plant regulatory programs such as those that control homeostasis, development, and responses to biotic and abiotic environmental changes.
Project description:The 24-nucleotides (nt) phased secondary small interfering RNA (phasiRNA) is a unique class of plant small RNAs abundantly expressed in monocot anthers at early meiosis. Previously, 44 intergenic regions were identified as the loci for longer precursor RNAs of 24-nt phasiRNAs (24-PHASs) in the rice genome. However, the regulatory mechanism that determines spatiotemporal expression of these RNAs has remained elusive. ETERNAL TAPETUM1 (EAT1) is a basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor indispensable for induction of programmed cell death (PCD) in postmeiotic anther tapetum, the somatic nursery for pollen production. In this study, EAT1-dependent non-cell-autonomous regulation of male meiosis was evidenced from microscopic observation of the eat1 mutant, in which meiosis with aberrantly decondensed chromosomes was retarded but accomplished somehow, eventually resulting in abortive microspores due to an aberrant tapetal PCD. EAT1 protein accumulated in tapetal-cell nuclei at early meiosis and postmeiotic microspore stages. Meiotic EAT1 promoted transcription of 24-PHAS RNAs at 101 loci, and importantly, also activated DICER-LIKE5 (DCL5, previous DCL3b in rice) mRNA transcription that is required for processing of double-stranded 24-PHASs into 24-nt lengths. From the results of the chromatin-immunoprecipitation and transient expression analyses, another tapetum-expressing bHLH protein, TDR INTERACTING PROTEIN2 (TIP2), was suggested to be involved in meiotic small-RNA biogenesis. The transient assay also demonstrated that UNDEVELOPED TAPETUM1 (UDT1)/bHLH164 is a potential interacting partner of both EAT1 and TIP2 during early meiosis. This study indicates that EAT1 is one of key regulators triggering meiotic phasiRNA biogenesis in anther tapetum, and that other bHLH proteins, TIP2 and UDT1, also play some important roles in this process. Spatiotemporal expression control of these bHLH proteins is a clue to orchestrate precise meiosis progression and subsequent pollen production non-cell-autonomously.
Project description:Recent results demonstrated that either non-coding or coding genes generate phased secondary small interfering RNAs (phasiRNAs) guided by specific miRNAs. Till now, there is no studies for phasiRNAs in Panax notoginseng (Burk.) F.H. Chen (P. notoginseng), an important traditional Chinese herbal medicinal plant species.Here we performed a genome-wide discovery of phasiRNAs and its host PHAS loci in P. notoginseng by analyzing small RNA sequencing profiles. Degradome sequencing profile was used to identify the trigger miRNAs of these phasiRNAs and potential targets of phasiRNAs. We also used RLM 5'-RACE to validate some of the identified phasiRNA targets.After analyzing 24 small RNA sequencing profiles of P. notoginseng, 204 and 90 PHAS loci that encoded 21 and 24 nucleotide (nt) phasiRNAs, respectively, were identified. Furthermore, we found that phasiRNAs produced from some pentatricopeptide repeat-contain (PPR) genes target another layer of PPR genes as validated by both the degradome sequencing profile and RLM 5'-RACE analysis. We also found that miR171 with 21 nt triggers the generations of 21 nt phasiRNAs from its conserved targets.We validated that some phasiRNAs generated from PPRs and TASL genes are functional by targeting other PPRs in trans. These results provide the first set of PHAS loci and phasiRNAs in P. notoginseng, and enhance our understanding of PHAS in plants.
Project description:Phased small interfering RNA (phasiRNA) generating loci (briefly as PHAS) in plants are a novel class of genes that are normally regulated by microRNAs (miRNAs). Similar to miRNAs, phasiRNAs encoded by PHAS play important regulatory roles by targeting protein coding transcripts in plant species. We performed a genome-wide discovery of PHAS loci in Chinese sacred lotus and identified a total of 106 PHAS loci. Of these, 47 loci generate 21 nucleotide (nt) phasiRNAs and 59 loci generate 24 nt phasiRNAs, respectively. We have also identified a new putative TAS3 and a putative TAS4 loci in the lotus genome. Our results show that some of the nucleotide-binding, leucine-rich repeat (NB-LRR) disease resistance proteins and MYB transcription factors potentially generate phasiRNAs. Furthermore, our results suggest that some large subunit (LSU) rRNAs can derive putative phasiRNAs, which is potentially resulted from crosstalk between small RNA biogenesis pathways that are employed to process rRNAs and PHAS loci, respectively. Some of the identified phasiRNAs have putative trans-targets with less than 4 mismatches, suggesting that the identified PHAS are involved in many different pathways. Finally, the discovery of 24 nt PHAS in lotus suggests that there are 24 nt PHAS in dicots.