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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Plant Gene Expression Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #397722

Research Project: Disease Resistance Gene Regulation through RNA Silencing for Improved Crop Protection

Location: Plant Gene Expression Center

Title: LncRNA gets into the balancing act

item Baker, Barbara

Submitted to: Cell Host and Microbe
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/30/2022
Publication Date: 8/10/2022
Citation: Li, F., Brunkard, J., Baker, B.J. 2022. LncRNA gets into the balancing act. Cell Host and Microbe. 30(8):1061-1063.

Interpretive Summary: Long noncoding RNA gets into the balancing act. Deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms balancing plant growth and immunity, will be essential for a greener, more sustainable, and more reliable agricultural future. An ARS scientist in collaboration with scientists at Huazhong Agricultural University, China, and the University of Wisconsin Madison, preview the recent discovery of a long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) that regulates plant immunity reported by Liu et al. 2022 Cell Host & Microbe 30, 1124-1138. The preview describes current understanding of two primary immune pathways each based on characteristic proteins that recognize invading pathogens and trigger defense. The preview highlights the essential and unifying role the plant hormone, salicylic acid, required for activation of both immune pathways and sets the stage for introduction of a new player, long non-coding RNA, that protects plants by promoting growth in uninfected plants and unleashing defenses when pathogens attack by transcriptionally regulating salicylic acid biosynthesis. These findings provide plant researchers a new tool new to optimize plant growth and defense and used in strategies to develop sustainable crop defense.

Technical Abstract: Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a diverse class of functional RNAs that are 200 nucleotides long and lack functional open reading frames (ORFs) .They belong to other well-defined non-coding RNAs such as micro (mi)RNA and small interfering (si)RNA. lncRNAs usually target protein-coding genes in their genomic neighborhood and recent studies in animal systems highlight the lowly expressed lncRNAs as key transcriptional regulators function through mechanistically distinct processes to fine-tune spatial and temporal gene expression in different cellular processes. The Li et al. preview underscores the importance of the Liu et al. finding and the proposed mechanism of lncRNA in transcriptional reprogramming to boost plant immunity during pathogen attack and growth in healthy plants.