Recent advances in the regulation of plant miRNA biogenesis

Mu Li, Bin Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are essential non-coding riboregulators of gene expression in plants and animals. In plants, miRNAs guide their effector protein named ARGONAUTE (AGO) to find target RNAs for gene silencing through target RNA cleavage or translational inhibition. miRNAs are derived from primary miRNA transcripts (pri-miRNAs), most of which are transcribed by the DNA-dependent RNA polymerase II. In plants, an RNase III enzyme DICER-LIKE1-containing complex processes pri-miRNAs in the nucleus into miRNAs. To ensure proper function of miRNAs, plants use multiple mechanisms to control miRNA accumulation. On one hand, pri-miRNA levels are controlled through transcription and stability. On the other hand, the activities of the DCL1 complex are regulated by many protein factors at transcriptional, post-transcriptional and post-translational levels. Notably, recent studies reveal that pri-miRNA structure/sequence features and modifications also play important roles in miRNA biogenesis. In this review, we summarize recent progresses on the mechanisms regulating miRNA biogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalRNA Biology
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Plant miRNA biogenesis
  • dcl1
  • pri-miRNA processing
  • pri-miRNA stability
  • pri-miRNA transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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