MicroRNAs (miRNAs) and short interfering RNAs (siRNAs), 20- to 27-nt in length, are essential regulatory molecules that act as sequence-specific guides in several processes in most eukaryotes (with the notable exception of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae). These processes include DNA elimination, heterochromatin assembly, mRNA cleavage and translational repression. This review focuses on the regulatory roles of plant miRNAs during development, in the adaptive response to stresses and in the miRNA pathway itself. This review also covers the regulatory roles of two classes of endogenous plant siRNAs, ta-siRNAs and nat-siRNAs, which participate in post-transcriptional control of gene expression.
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We thank D. Bartel and members of the Vaucheret and Bartel labs for fruitful discussions. Work in the Vaucheret laboratory is supported by the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) and the European Commission (Riboreg program). A.C.M. is supported by a US National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Training Fellowship.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Mallory, A., Vaucheret, H. Functions of microRNAs and related small RNAs in plants. Nat Genet 38, S31–S36 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/ng1791
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