Identification and characterization of endogenous small interfering RNAs from rice

Nucleic Acids Res. 2005 Aug 2;33(14):4443-54. doi: 10.1093/nar/gki758. Print 2005.


RNA silencing-mediated small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs) have diverse natural roles, ranging from regulation of gene expression and heterochromatin formation to genome defense against transposons and viruses. Unlike miRNAs, endogenous siRNAs are generally not conserved between species; consequently, their identification requires experimental approaches. Thus far, endogenous siRNAs have not been reported from rice, which is a model species for monocotyledonous plants. We identified a large set of putative endogenous siRNAs from root, shoot and inflorescence small RNA cDNA libraries of rice. Most of these siRNAs are from intergenic regions, although a substantial proportion (22%) originates from the introns and exons of protein-coding genes. Northern and RT-PCR analysis revealed that the expression of some of the siRNAs is tissue specific or developmental stage specific. A total of 25 transposons and 21 protein-coding genes were predicted to be cis-targets of some of the siRNAs. Based on sequence homology, we also predicted 111 putative trans-targets for 44 of the siRNAs. Interestingly, approximately 46% of the predicted trans-targets are transposable elements, which suggests that endogenous siRNAs may play an important role in the suppression of transposon proliferation. Using RNA ligase-mediated-5' rapid amplification of cDNA end assays, we validated three of the predicted targets and provided evidence for both cis- and trans-silencing of target genes by siRNAs-guided mRNA cleavage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Genome, Plant
  • Nucleotides / metabolism
  • Oryza / genetics*
  • Oryza / metabolism
  • RNA Interference*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism*


  • Nucleotides
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Plant
  • RNA, Small Interfering