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AGO1 nuclear functions revealed

Researchers have gained better understanding of a genetic coordinator protein called AGO1, including identifying new functions in the nucleus of plant cells.
AGO1 nuclear functions revealed
Plants and animals use small RNA (sRNA) to control many developmental and physiological processes. AGO1 and sRNA combine as part of RNA-induced silencing complexes, which are key controllers of gene expression in plants.

The EU-funded NUAGO1 (Exploring nuclear localization and functions of Arabidopsis AGO1) initiative worked to understand some unidentified functions of the AGO1 protein in the nucleus of cells. The researchers employed biochemical fractionation, deep-sequencing analyses, cell biology and forward genetics to decipher the functions of AGO1.

NUAGO1 analysed the sRNA bound to nuclear AGO1 to identify their origins and targets in the nucleus. The team studied whether AGO1 in the nucleus contributed to antiviral defence and transcriptional gene silencing.

Results showed that AGO1 is found in a number of locations within Arabidopsis cells, and that it shuttles constantly between the nucleus and the cytoplasm.

The researchers also looked at the types of microRNA associated with AGO1. They found that AGO1 was not silencing gene expression in the nucleus, only in the cytoplasm.

These results contribute to our understanding of RNA silencing in plants. Knowledge on cell fractionation procedures, large-scale RNA analyses and Arabidopsis AGO biology generated during the project will improve European scientific expertise.

Related information


AGO1, nucleus, plant cells, sRNA, gene expression, NUAGO1
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