University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars > Evolution of the miRNA-mediated RNA silencing pathway: the plant that wanted to be an animal

Evolution of the miRNA-mediated RNA silencing pathway: the plant that wanted to be an animal

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RNA silencing in the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, as in higher plants, involves siRNAs and miRNAs that target transposons and mRNAs (Molnar et al. 2007). We have recently identified three independent mutants in the Dicer-like protein (DCL) 3 gene, which were unable to produce miRNAs and transposon-derived sRNAs. Analysis of sRNA and long RNA in the dcl3 mutant and parental lines reveals that miRNA precursors in Chlamydomonas resemble those from animals rather than higher plants, because most of these precursors are hosted by either exons or introns of protein-coding RNAs. Interestingly, as in animals, mature miRNAs seem to be mainly controlling target expression at the translational level (our results, and others). Altogether, these findings prompt a re-evaluation of the hypothesis that miRNA systems evolved independently in plants and animals.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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