Control of agricultural traits by hc-siRNA associated MITEs in rice
Transposable elements (TEs) and repetitive sequences comprise over 40% of rice genome. Different TEs are tightly regulated by distinct epigenetic mechanisms. For example, the activities of LTR retrotransposon Tos17 and non-LTR retrotransposon LINE element Karma are uniquely regulated by histone H3K9 methylation and histone H3K4 demethylation, respectively. Miniature inverted repeat transposable elements (MITEs) are one of the most high-copy-number DNA transposons, which are interspersed around rice genome and might influence nearby gene expression. In plants, 24-nucleotide (24-nt) heterochromatic small interfering RNAs (hc-siRNAs) derived from repeats and TEs. To what extent hc-siRNA associated TEs affect gene expression and therefore contribute to agricultural traits in rice remains elusive. Here, we show that OsDCL3a, one of Dicer-Like 3 (DCL3) homolog, is primarily responsible for 24-nt hc-siRNA processing in rice. Impaired OsDCL3a displayed altered important agricultural traits in rice. We found that genome-wide (281,563) 24-nt hc-siRNA clusters were OsDCL3a-dependent, among which MITEs were significantly enriched. Impaired OsDCL3a caused significant overlapping between reduced hc-siRNAs from MITEs and elevated nearby gene expression. Intriguingly, genes involved in Gibberellin and Brassinosteroid homeostasis were identified as direct targets of OsDCL3a, which may attribute to dwarfism and enlarged flag leaf angle upon OsDCL3a deficiency. Our work uncovers OsDCL3a-dependent hc-siRNAs derived from MITEs as broad spectrum of regulators for fine-tuning gene expression, and this observation may reflect a conserved mechanism in other higher plants with dispersed repeat- or TE-rich genomes. Overall design: Examination of OsDCL3a-dependent hc-siRNAs derived from MITEs.
External Link: /pubmed:24554078