2013 Volume 88 Issue 2 Pages 77-84
Trans-acting small interfering RNAs (tasiRNAs) are plant-specific endogenous siRNAs that control non-identical mRNAs via cleavage. The production of tasiRNAs is triggered by cleavage of capped and polyadenylated primary TAS transcripts (pri-TASs) by specific miRNAs. Following miRNA-directed cleavage, either 5′ or 3′ cleavage fragments are converted into double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) by RNA-DEPENDENT RNA POLYMERASE 6. The dsRNAs are processed to tasiRNAs by DICER-LIKE 4 in a phasing manner. There are two forms of pri-TASs; One has a single miRNA target site that is targeted by 22-nucleotide microRNAs, and the other has two miR390 target sites. Secondary siRNAs that are important for the amplification of RNA silencing are defined as siRNAs whose production is initiated by the cleavage of primary small RNA-containing RNA-induced silencing complexes. Thus, tasiRNA production is a model system of secondary siRNA production in plants. This review focuses on the production of tasiRNAs that are endogenous secondary siRNAs.