Pol IV-Dependent siRNAs in Plants

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In plants, the most abundant class of small RNAs are 24-nucleotide short interfering (si)RNA. These siRNAs are produced at thousands of discrete genomic locations through the action of the plant-specific DNA-dependent RNA polymerase IV (Pol IV). Pol IV-dependent siRNAs catalyze repressive DNA methylation on transposable elements and other repetitive sequences, but might trigger diverse chromatin modifications at distinct genomic locations, such as DNA demethylation or histone modification. Pol IV-dependent siRNAs are expressed abundantly, and sometimes exclusively, in the developing endosperm, where they are produced from only the maternal chromosomes. The biological role of Pol IV-dependent siRNAs is unclear, but might involve interaction between different genomes or alleles, or stabilizing and buffering the genome from genetic and epigenetic modifications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRNA Technologies
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages27
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NameRNA Technologies
ISSN (Print)2197-9731
ISSN (Electronic)2197-9758


  • DNA methylation
  • Heterochromatin
  • RNA polymerase IV
  • RNA polymerase V
  • Transcriptional gene ­silencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Cancer Research


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