J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2019, Vol. 61 ›› Issue (11): 1128-1133.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12775

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MicroRNAs transcriptionally regulate promoter activity in Arabidopsis thaliana

Guodong Yang1,2,3†, Yuanyuan Li3†, Binjiang Wu3, Kaiyue Zhang3, Lei Gao1* and Chengchao Zheng3*   

  1. 1Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory for Plant Epigenetics, College of Life Sciences and Oceanography, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
    2Key Laboratory of Optoelectronic Devices and Systems of Ministry of Education and Guangdong Province, College of Optoelectronic Engineering, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
    3State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, College of Life Sciences, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian 271018, China

    These authors contributed equally to this study.
    Email: Lei Gao (leigao@szu.edu.cn); Chengchao Zheng (cczheng@sdau.edu.cn, Dr. Zheng is fully responsible for the distribution of all materials associated with this article)
  • Received:2018-09-24 Accepted:2019-01-03 Online:2019-01-08 Published:2019-11-01


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are vital regulators that repress gene expression in the cytoplasm in two main ways: mRNA degradation and translational inhibition. Several animal studies have shown that miRNAs also target promoters, thereby activating expression. Whether this miRNA action also occurs in plants is unknown. In this study, we demonstrated that several miRNAs regulate target promoters in Arabidopsis thaliana. For example, miR5658 was predominantly present in the nucleus and activated the expression of AT3G25290 directly by binding to its promoter. Our observations suggest that this mode of action may be a general feature of plant miRNAs, and thus provide insight into the vital roles of plant miRNAs in the nucleus.

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