Genome-wide Profiling and Analysis of Arabidopsis siRNAs

PLoS Biol. 2007 Mar;5(3):e57. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050057.

Abstract

Eukaryotes contain a diversified set of small RNA-guided pathways that control genes, repeated sequences, and viruses at the transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels. Genome-wide profiles and analyses of small RNAs, particularly the large class of 24-nucleotide (nt) short interfering RNAs (siRNAs), were done for wild-type Arabidopsis thaliana and silencing pathway mutants with defects in three RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RDR) and four Dicer-like (DCL) genes. The profiling involved direct analysis using a multiplexed, parallel-sequencing strategy. Small RNA-generating loci, especially those producing predominantly 24-nt siRNAs, were found to be highly correlated with repetitive elements across the genome. These were found to be largely RDR2- and DCL3-dependent, although alternative DCL activities were detected on a widespread level in the absence of DCL3. In contrast, no evidence for RDR2-alternative activities was detected. Analysis of RDR2- and DCL3-dependent small RNA accumulation patterns in and around protein-coding genes revealed that upstream gene regulatory sequences systematically lack siRNA-generating activities. Further, expression profiling suggested that relatively few genes, proximal to abundant 24-nt siRNAs, are regulated directly by RDR2- and DCL3-dependent silencing. We conclude that the widespread accumulation patterns for RDR2- and DCL3-dependent siRNAs throughout the Arabidopsis genome largely reflect mechanisms to silence highly repeated sequences.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Genome, Plant*
  • RNA, Small Interfering*

Substances

  • DNA Primers
  • RNA, Small Interfering