Ambient temperature regulates the expression of a small set of sRNAs influencing plant development through NF‐YA2 and YUC2

Péter Gyula, Ivett Baksa, Tamás Tóth, Irina Mohorianu, Tamás Dalmay, György Szittya

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Plants substantially alter their developmental program upon changes in the ambient temperature. The 21–24 nt small RNAs (sRNAs) are important gene expression regulators, which play a major role in development and adaptation. However, little is known about how the different sRNA classes respond to changes in the ambient temperature. We profiled the sRNA populations in four different tissues of Arabidopsis thaliana plants grown at 15, 21 and 27 °C. We found that only a small fraction (0.6%) of the sRNA loci are ambient temperature‐controlled. We identified thermoresponsive miRNAs and identified their target genes using degradome libraries. We verified that the target of the thermoregulated miR169, NF‐YA2, is also ambient temperature‐regulated. NF‐YA2, as the component of the conserved transcriptional regulator NF‐Y complex, binds the promoter of the flowering time regulator FT and the auxin biosynthesis gene YUC2. Other differentially expressed loci include thermoresponsive phased siRNA loci that target various auxin pathway genes and tRNA fragments. Furthermore, a temperature dependent 24‐nt heterochromatic siRNA locus in the promoter of YUC2 may contribute to the epigenetic regulation of auxin homeostasis. This holistic approach facilitated a better understanding of the role of different sRNA classes in ambient temperature adaptation of plants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2404-2417
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number10
Early online date1 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • ambient temperature
  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • degradome
  • miRNA
  • phasiRNA
  • siRNA
  • tRNA fragments
  • NF‐YA2
  • YUC2

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