Date: 30 Sep 2009

Translational Inhibition by MicroRNAs in Plants

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Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are 21–24 nucleotide riboregulators, which selectively repress gene expression through transcript cleavage and/or translational inhibition. It was thought that most plant miRNAs act through target transcript cleavage due to the high degree of complementarity between miRNAs and their targets. However, recent studies have suggested widespread translational inhibition by miRNAs in plants. The mechanisms underlining translational inhibition by plant miRNAs are largely unknown, but existing evidence has indicated that plants and animals share some mechanistic similarity of translational inhibition. Translational inhibition by miRNAs has been shown to regulate floral patterning, floral timing, and stress responses. This chapter covers recent progress on plant miRNA-mediated translational control.