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Recent origination of circular RNAs in plants
New Phytologist  (IF10.151),  Pub Date : 2021-10-13, DOI: 10.1111/nph.17798
Qinjie Chu, Yuwen Ding, Xiaoxu Xu, Chu-Yu Ye, Qian-Hao Zhu, Longbiao Guo, Longjiang Fan

  • Circular RNA (circRNA) is a kind of new regulatory RNA with diverse biological functions. Numerous circRNAs have been identified in many plant species; however, evolution of plant circRNAs remains largely unknown.
  • In this study, we assembled full-length sequences of 6519 rice (Oryza sativa) circRNAs and analyzed their conservation in another 46 plant species based on comparison of sequences and expression patterns.
  • We found that, at the genomic level, 8.7% of the 6519 circRNAs were conserved in dicotyledonous plants and 49.1% in Oryza genus. Meanwhile, 57.8% of parental protein-coding genes of the rice circRNAs originated recently after divergence of monocotyledonous plants, implying recent origin of the majority of rice circRNAs, a conclusion further supported by the results based on analysis of 4663 full-length circRNAs in Arabidopsis thaliana. Accordingly, we proposed three models to address the origination of different types of circRNAs.
  • Taken together, the results obtained in this study provide new insights for the evolutionary dynamics of plant circRNAs and candidate circRNAs for further functional exploration.