Transposable elements, mRNA expression level and strand-specificity of small RNAs are associated with non-additive inheritance of gene expression in hybrid plants

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Abstract

Background: Gene expression inheritance patterns in Arabidopsis hybrid plants were investigated for correlation with the presence of transposable elements (TEs) and small RNA profile. Results: The presence of TEs in a gene and the expression of small RNA matching a gene were both found to be associated with non-additive mRNA inheritance patterns in hybrids. Expression levels below mid-parent values in the hybrids were associated with low mRNA expression in parents, with the presence of small RNA from both strands, and with the presence of TEs. High-parent dominance of mRNA levels was found to be associated with high parental mRNA expression levels, the absence of TEs, and for some genes, with small RNA fragments that are predominantly from the sense strand. These small RNAs exhibit a broader size distribution than siRNA and reduced nucleotide end bias, which are consistent with an origin from degraded mRNA. Thus, increased as well as decreased gene expression in hybrids relative to the parental mean is associated with gene expression levels, TE presence and small RNA fragments with differing characteristics. Conclusions: The data presented here is consistent with a role for differential mRNA decay kinetics as one mechanism contributing to high-parent dominance in gene expression. Our evidence is also consistent with trans repression by siRNA and TEs as the cause of low-parent dominance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number168
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2015

Keywords

  • Gene expression inheritance
  • Hybrid
  • Small RNA
  • Transposon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

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