Plant microRNAs (miRNAs) operate by guiding the cleavage or translational inhibition of mRNA targets. They act as key gene regulators for development and environmental adaptation, and Dicer-partnering proteins DRB1 and DRB2 govern which form of regulation plays the dominant role. Mutation of Drb1 impairs transcript cleavage, whereas mutation of Drb2 ablates translational inhibition. Regulation of gene expression by miRNA-guided cleavage has been extensively studied, but there is much less information about genes regulated through miRNA-mediated translation inhibition. Here, we compared the proteomes of drb1 and drb2 mutants to gain insight into the indirect effect of the different miRNA regulatory mechanisms in Arabidopsis thaliana. Our results show that miRNAs operating through transcript cleavage regulate a broad spectrum of processes, including catabolism and anabolism, and this was particularly obvious in the fatty acid degradation pathway. Enzymes catalyzing each step of this pathway were upregulated in drb1. In contrast, DRB2-associated translational inhibition appears to be less ubiquitous and specifically aimed toward responses against abiotic or biotic stimuli.
- translation inhibition