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Open Access Research

A global profiling of uncapped mRNAs under cold stress reveals specific decay patterns and endonucleolytic cleavages in Brachypodium distachyon

Jingyu Zhang, Zhiwei Mao and Kang Chong*

Author Affiliations

Key Laboratory of Plant Molecular Physiology, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China

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Genome Biology 2013, 14:R92  doi:10.1186/gb-2013-14-8-r92

Published: 30 August 2013

Abstract

Background

mRNA degradation is a critical factor in determining mRNA abundance and enables rapid adjustment of gene expression in response to environmental stress. The involvement of processing bodies in stress response suggests a role for decapping-mediated mRNA degradation. However, little is known about the role of mRNA degradation under stressful environmental conditions.

Results

Here, we perform a global study of uncapped mRNAs, via parallel analysis of RNA ends (PARE), under cold stress in Brachypodium distachyon. Enrichment analysis indicates that degradation products detected by PARE are mainly generated by the decapping pathway. Endonucleolytic cleavages are detected, uncovering another way of modulating gene expression. PARE and RNA-Seq analyses identify four types of mRNA decay patterns. Type II genes, for which light-harvesting processes are over-represented in gene ontology analyses, show unchanged transcript abundance and altered uncapped transcript abundance. Uncapping-mediated transcript stability of light harvesting-related genes changes significantly in response to cold stress, which may allow rapid adjustments in photosynthetic activity in response to cold stress. Transcript abundance and uncapped transcript abundance for type III genes changes in opposite directions in response to cold stress, indicating that uncapping-mediated mRNA degradation plays a role in regulating gene expression.

Conclusion

To our knowledge, this is the first global analysis of mRNA degradation under environmental stress conditions in Brachypodium distachyon. We uncover specific degradation and endonucleolytic cleavage patterns under cold stress, which will deepen our understanding of mRNA degradation under stressful environmental conditions, as well as the cold stress response mechanism in monocots.

Keywords:
mRNA stability; decapping; cold stress; PARE; Brachypodium distachyon