Global identification of full-length cassava lncRNAs unveils the role of cold-responsive intergenic lncRNA 1 in cold stress response

Plant Cell Environ. 2021 Dec 1. doi: 10.1111/pce.14236. Online ahead of print.


Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been considered to be important regulators of gene expression in a range of biological processes in plants. A large number of lncRNAs have been identified in plants. However, most of their biological functions still remain to be determined. Here, we identified a total of 3004 lncRNAs in cassava under normal or cold-treated conditions from Iso-seq data. We further characterized a cold-responsive intergenic lncRNA 1 (CRIR1) as a novel positive regulator of the plant response to cold stress. CRIR1 can be significantly induced by cold treatment. Ectopic expression of CRIR1 in cassava enhanced the cold tolerance of transgenic plants. Transcriptome analysis demonstrated that CRIR1 regulated a range of cold stress-related genes in a CBF-independent pathway. We further found that CRIR1 RNA can interact with cassava cold shock protein 5 (MeCSP5), which acts as an RNA chaperone, indicating that CRIR1 may recruit MeCSP5 to improve the translation efficiency of messenger RNA. In summary, our study extends the repertoire of lncRNAs in plants as well as their role in cold stress responses. Moreover, it reveals a mechanism by which CRIR1 affected cold stress response by modulating the expression of stress-responsive genes and increasing their translational yield.

Keywords: CRIR1; Iso-seq; RNA-seq; cold shock protein; long noncoding RNA.