miRNA-encoded peptide, miPEP858, regulates plant growth and development in Arabidopsis
MicroRNAs (miRNAs), small non-coding endogenous RNAs, are processed product of primary miRNAs (pri-miRNAs) and regulate target gene expression. pri-miRNAs have also been reported to encode small peptides, miRNA-Encoded Peptides (miPEPs). Though regulatory role of miPEPs has been speculated, no detailed study has been carried out to elucidate their function through developing knock-out mutants. Here, we report that pri-miR858a of Arabidopsis thaliana encodes a small peptide (miPEP858a) which regulates the expression of pri-miR858a leading to modulation in the expression of target genes involved in the plant growth and development as well as phenylpropanoid pathway. CRISPR-based miPEP858a-edited plants developed phenotypes similar to that of mature miR858-edited plants suggesting crucial role of miPEP858a in mediating miR585a function. miPEP858a-edited and miPEP858a overexpressing lines altered plant development and accumulated modulated levels of flavonoids due to changes in expression of associated genes. Exogenous treatment of synthetic-miPEP858a to the miPEP858a-edited plants complemented phenotypes and the gene function suggesting a significant role of miPEP858a in controlling the miR858 function and plant development.
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