Mobile ARGONAUTE 1d binds 22-nt miRNAs to generate phasiRNAs important for low-temperature male fertility in rice

Sci China Life Sci. 2023 Feb;66(2):197-208. doi: 10.1007/s11427-022-2204-y. Epub 2022 Oct 11.


Phased small interfering RNAs (phasiRNAs) are abundantly expressed in anthers and linked to environment-related male fertility in grasses, yet how they function under different environmental conditions remains unclear. Here, we identified a rice (Oryza sativa) low temperature-induced Argonaute (AGO) protein, OsAGO1d, that is responsible for generating phasiRNAs and preserving male fertility at low temperature. Loss of OsAGO1d function causes low-temperature male sterility associated with delayed programmed cell death of tapetal cells during anther development. OsAGO1d binds miR2118 and miR2275 family members and triggers phasiRNA biogenesis; it also binds 21-nt phasiRNAs with a 5' terminal U. In total, phasiRNAs from 972 loci are OsAGO1d-dependent. OsAGO1d protein moves from anther wall cells into meiocytes, where it loads miR2275 to produce 24-nt phasiRNAs. Together, our results show that OsAGO1d acts as a mobile signal to fine-tune phasiRNA production and this function is important for male fertility at low temperature.

Keywords: 22-nt miRNA; ARGONAUTE; low temperature; male sterility; mobile signal; phasiRNA; rice.

MeSH terms

  • Fertility / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • Oryza* / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • Temperature


  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • MicroRNAs
  • Plant Proteins
  • RNA, Plant