Maternal small RNAs mediate spatial-temporal regulation of gene expression, imprinting, and seed development in Arabidopsis.
IF: 12.779
Cited by: 48


Arabidopsis seed development involves maternal small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that induce RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) through the NRPD1-mediated pathway. To investigate their biological functions, we characterized siRNAs in the endosperm and seed coat that were separated by laser-capture microdissection (LCM) in reciprocal genetic crosses with an nrpd1 mutant. We also monitored the spatial-temporal activity of the NRPD1-mediated pathway on seed development using the AGO4:GFP::AGO4 (promoter:GFP::protein) reporter and promoter:GUS sensors of siRNA-mediated silencing. From these approaches, we identified four distinct groups of siRNA loci dependent on or independent of the maternal NRPD1 allele in the endosperm or seed coat. A group of maternally expressed NRPD1-siRNA loci targets endosperm-preferred genes, including those encoding AGAMOUS-LIKE (AGL) transcription factors. Using translational promoter:AGL::GUS constructs as sensors, we demonstrate that spatial and temporal expression patterns of these genes in the endosperm are regulated by the NRPD1-mediated pathway irrespective of complete silencing (AGL91) or incomplete silencing (AGL40) of these target genes. Moreover, altered expression of these siRNA-targeted genes affects seed size. We propose that the corresponding maternal siRNAs could account for parent-of-origin effects on the endosperm in interploidy and hybrid crosses. These analyses reconcile previous studies on siRNAs and imprinted gene expression during seed development.


Spatial Temporal Gene Expression
DNA methylation

MeSH terms

Arabidopsis Proteins
Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
Genomic Imprinting
RNA, Plant
RNA, Small Interfering


Kirkbride, Ryan C
Lu, Jie
Zhang, Changqing
Mosher, Rebecca A
Baulcombe, David C
Chen, Z Jeffrey

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