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Du13 encodes a C2H2 zinc-finger protein that regulates Wx(b) pre-mRNA splicing and microRNA biogenesis in rice endosperm

Cai, Yue;;Zhang, Wenwei;;Fu, Yushuang;;Shan, Zhuangzhuang;;Xu, Jiahuan;;Wang, Peng;;Kong, Fei;;Jin, Jie;;Yan, Haigang;;Ge, Xinyuan;;Wang, Yongxiang;;You, Xiaoman;;Chen, Jie;;Li, Xin;;Chen, Weiwei;;Chen, Xingang;;Ma, Jing;;Tang, Xiaojie;;Zhang, Jie;;Bao, Yiqun;;Jiang, Ling;;Wang, Haiyang;;Wan, Jianmin


Amylose content is a crucial physicochemical property responsible for the eating and cooking quality of rice (Oryza sativa L.) grain and is mainly controlled by the Waxy (Wx) gene. Previous studies have identified several Dull genes that modulate the expression of the Wx(b) allele in japonica rice by affecting the splicing efficiency of the Wx(b) pre-mRNA. Here, we uncover dual roles for a novel Dull gene in pre-mRNA splicing and microRNA processing. We isolated the dull mutant, du13, with a dull endosperm and low amylose content. Map-based cloning showed that Du13 encodes a C2H2 zinc-finger protein. Du13 coordinates with the nuclear cap-binding complex to regulate the splicing of Wx(b) transcripts in rice endosperm. Moreover, Du13 also regulates alternative splicing of other protein-coding transcripts and affects the biogenesis of a subset of microRNAs. Our results reveal an evolutionarily conserved link between pre-mRNA splicing and microRNA biogenesis in rice endosperm. Our findings also provide new insights into the functions of Dull genes in rice and expand our knowledge of microRNA biogenesis in monocots.