Journal Articles

Cell-specific cis-natural antisense transcripts (cis-NATs) in the sperm and the pollen vegetative cells of Arabidopsis thaliana

February 08, 2018

Peng Qin, Ann E. Loraine (2018). Cell-specific cis-natural antisense transcripts (cis-NATs) in the sperm and the pollen vegetative cells of Arabidopsis thaliana. F1000Research 7:93.

Author Affiliations

Rice Research Institute, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu Wenjiang, Sichuan, 611130, China
U.S. Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service and Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Albany, CA, 94710, USA
Department of Bioinformatics and Genomics, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, 28223, USA


Background: cis-NATs (cis-natural antisense transcripts) are transcribed from opposite strands of adjacent genes and have been shown to regulate gene expression by generating small RNAs from the overlapping region. cis-NATs are important for plant development and resistance to pathogens and stress. Several genome-wide investigations identified a number of cis-NAT pairs, but these investigations predicted cis-NATS using expression data from bulk samples that included lots of cell types. Some cis-NAT pairs identified from those investigations might not be functional, because both transcripts of cis-NAT pairs need to be co-expressed in the same cell. Pollen only contains two cell types, two sperm and one vegetative cell, which makes cell-specific investigation of cis-NATs possible.
Methods: We investigated potential protein-coding cis-NATs in pollen and sperm using pollen RNA-seq data and TAIR10 gene models using the Integrated Genome Browser. We then used sperm microarray data and sRNAs in sperm and pollen to determine possibly functional cis-NATs in the sperm or vegetative cell, respectively.
Results: We identified 1471 potential protein-coding cis-NAT pairs, including 131 novel pairs that were not present in TAIR10 gene models. In pollen, 872 possibly functional pairs were identified. 72 and 56 pairs were potentially functional in sperm and vegetative cells, respectively. sRNAs were detected at 794 genes, belonging to 739 pairs.
Conclusion: These potential candidates in sperm and the vegetative cell are tools for understanding gene expression mechanisms in pollen.

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