J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2019, Vol. 61 ›› Issue (6): 728-748.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12798

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Dek42 encodes an RNA-binding protein that affects alternative pre-mRNA splicing and maize kernel development

Yi Zuo1, Fan Feng2, Weiwei Qi2 and Rentao Song1*   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, National Maize Improvement Center, Beijing Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, Joint International Research Laboratory of Crop Molecular Breeding, College of Agronomy and Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
    2 Shanghai Key Laboratory of Bio-Energy Crops, Plant Science Center, School of Life Sciences, Shanghai University, Shanghai 200444, China

    *Correspondence:

    Email: Rentao Song (rentaosong@cau.edu.cn)
  • Received:2018-12-12 Accepted:2019-02-28 Online:2019-03-06 Published:2019-06-01

Abstract: RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) play an important role in post-transcriptional gene regulation. However, the functions of RBPs in plants remain poorly understood. Maize kernel mutant dek42 has small defective kernels and lethal seedlings. Dek42 was cloned by Mutator tag isolation and further confirmed by an independent mutant allele and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-CRISPR-associated protein 9 materials. Dek42 encodes an RRM_RBM48 type RNA-binding protein that localizes to the nucleus. Dek42 is constitutively expressed in various maize tissues. The dek42 mutation caused a significant reduction in the accumulation of DEK42 protein in mutant kernels. RNA-seq analysis showed that the dek42 mutation significantly disturbed the expression of thousands of genes during maize kernel development. Sequence analysis also showed that the dek42 mutation significantly changed alternative splicing in expressed genes, which were especially enriched for the U12-type intron-retained type. Yeast two-hybrid screening identified SF3a1 as a DEK42-interacting protein. DEK42 also interacts with the spliceosome component U1-70K. These results suggested that DEK42 participates in the regulation of pre-messenger RNA splicing through its interaction with other spliceosome components. This study showed the function of a newly identified RBP and provided insights into alternative splicing regulation during maize kernel development.

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