Enhanced microRNA accumulation through stemloop-adjacent introns

EMBO Rep. 2013 Jul;14(7):615-21. doi: 10.1038/embor.2013.58. Epub 2013 May 10.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) originate from stemloop-forming precursor RNAs found in longer primary transcripts that often contain introns. We show that in plants, those introns, when located 3' of the stemloop, can promote mature miRNA accumulation, through a mechanism that likely operates at the level of miRNA processing or stability. Reversely, when miRNA production is reduced such as in dicer-like 1 mutants, splicing of introns that promote miRNA processing is considerably increased, pointing to a tight physical and temporal coordination of intron splicing and miRNA processing in plants. Our findings further suggest that miRNA transcripts without introns generated through alternative polyA-site usage might contribute to the differential adjustment of miRNA levels, possibly at a tissue-specific level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Introns*
  • Inverted Repeat Sequences
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Organ Specificity
  • Poly A / genetics
  • Poly A / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • MIRN163 microRNA, Arabidopsis
  • MicroRNAs
  • Mirn172 microRNA, Arabidopsis
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Poly A