The next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology has revolutionized our previous understanding of the plant genomes, relying on its innate advantages, such as high throughput and deep sequencing depth. In addition to the protein-coding gene loci, massive transcription signals have been detected within intergenic or intragenic regions. Most of these signals belong to non-coding ones, considering their weak protein-coding potential. Generally, these transcripts could be divided into long non-coding RNAs and small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) based on their sequence length. In addition to the well-known microRNAs (miRNAs), many plant endogenous sRNAs were collectively referred to as small interfering RNAs. However, an increasing number of unclassified sRNA species are being discovered by NGS. The high heterogeneity of these novel sRNAs greatly hampered the mechanistic studies, especially on the clear description of their biogenesis and action pathways. Fortunately, public databases, bioinformatics softwares and NGS datasets are increasingly available for plant sRNA research. Here, by summarizing these valuable resources, we proposed a general workflow to decipher the RDR (RNA-dependent RNA polymerase)- and DCL (Dicer-like)-dependent biogenesis pathways, and the Argonaute-mediated action modes (such as target cleavages and chromatin modifications) for specific sRNA species in plants. Taken together, we hope that by summarizing a list of the public resources, this work will facilitate the plant biologists to perform classification and functional characterization of the interesting sRNA species.
Rice – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 7, 2017
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