A miR169 isoform regulates specific NF-YA targets and root architecture in Arabidopsis.

In plants, roots are essential for water and nutrient acquisition. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate their target mRNAs by transcript cleavage and/or inhibition of protein translation and are known as major post-transcriptional regulators of various developmental pathways and stress responses. In Arabidopsis thaliana, four isoforms of miR169 are encoded by 14 different genes and target diverse mRNAs, encoding subunits A of the NF-Y transcription factor complex. These miRNA isoforms and their targets have previously been linked to nutrient signalling in plants. By using mimicry constructs against different isoforms of miR169 and miR-resistant versions of NF-YA genes we analysed the role of specific miR169 isoforms in root growth and branching. We identified a regulatory node involving the particular miR169defg isoform and NF-YA2 and NF-YA10 genes that acts in the control of primary root growth. The specific expression of MIM169defg constructs altered specific cell type numbers and dimensions in the root meristem. Preventing miR169defg-regulation of NF-YA2 indirectly affected laterial root initiation. We also showed that the miR169defg isoform affects NF-YA2 transcripts both at mRNA stability and translation levels. We propose that a specific miR169 isoform and the NF-YA2 target control root architecture in Arabidopsis.

New Phytol., 2014, 202(4):1197-211.

DOI: 10.1111/nph.12735

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