We use flower development in Arabidopsis as a model to understand how cells in multicellular organisms assume their developmental fates and form distinct patterns. Our long-term goal is to identify and analyze the genetic networks and the underlying molecular mechanisms that lead to cell fate specification in the floral primordium. For a long time, three classes of floral homeotic transcription factors known as the A, B, and C genes have been the only players in floral organ identity specification. Our studies have identified a microRNA, miR172, as a translational represser of the class A gene APETALA2, indicating that posttranscriptional regulation also plays a role in flower development. In the proposed project, we will employ molecular genetic approaches to determine how miR172 fits in the regulatory circuitry governing flower development and to probe how miR172 regulates APETALA2 mRNA at the translational level. Homeotic genes that encode transcription factors act in cell fate specification in both animals and plants. Emerging evidence of microRNAs as regulators of homeotic genes in both animals and plants adds a new layer of regulation to the known transcriptional networks governing cell fate specification. The proposed research will undoubtedly provide insights into the integration of posttranscriptional and transcriptional mechanisms in developmental processes in multicellular organisms. The proposed research will also provide insights into the mechanism of microRNA-mediated translational repression of target mRNAs. Given the conserved actions of small RNAs in gene regulation in plants and animals and the potential of using small RNAs as therapeutic agents, this research will contribute to our understanding of small RNA biology in general and impact the uses of small RNAs to treat human diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Development - 1 Study Section (DEV)
Program Officer
Haynes, Susan R
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California Riverside
Other Basic Sciences
Schools of Earth Sciences/Natur
United States
Zip Code
Chen, Jiayi; Liu, Li; You, Chenjiang et al. (2018) Structural and biochemical insights into small RNA 3' end trimming by Arabidopsis SDN1. Nat Commun 9:3585
Ma, Xuan; Liu, Chunyan; Gu, Lianfeng et al. (2018) TarHunter, a tool for predicting conserved microRNA targets and target mimics in plants. Bioinformatics 34:1574-1576
Huang, Zhigang; Shi, Ting; Zheng, Binglian et al. (2017) APETALA2 antagonizes the transcriptional activity of AGAMOUS in regulating floral stem cells in Arabidopsis thaliana. New Phytol 215:1197-1209
Yu, Yu; Ji, Lijuan; Le, Brandon H et al. (2017) ARGONAUTE10 promotes the degradation of miR165/6 through the SDN1 and SDN2 exonucleases in Arabidopsis. PLoS Biol 15:e2001272
Li, Dongming; Palanca, Ana Marie S; Won, So Youn et al. (2017) The MBD7 complex promotes expression of methylated transgenes without significantly altering their methylation status. Elife 6:
Jia, Tianran; Zhang, Bailong; You, Chenjiang et al. (2017) The Arabidopsis MOS4-Associated Complex Promotes MicroRNA Biogenesis and Precursor Messenger RNA Splicing. Plant Cell 29:2626-2643
Cui, Jie; You, Chenjiang; Chen, Xuemei (2017) The evolution of microRNAs in plants. Curr Opin Plant Biol 35:61-67
Yu, Yu; Jia, Tianran; Chen, Xuemei (2017) The 'how' and 'where' of plant microRNAs. New Phytol 216:1002-1017
Su, Zhenxia; Zhao, Lihua; Zhao, Yuanyuan et al. (2017) The THO Complex Non-Cell-Autonomously Represses Female Germline Specification through the TAS3-ARF3 Module. Curr Biol 27:1597-1609.e2
Li, Shengben; Le, Brandon; Ma, Xuan et al. (2016) Biogenesis of phased siRNAs on membrane-bound polysomes in Arabidopsis. Elife 5:

Showing the most recent 10 out of 86 publications