Mediator, a conserved multiprotein complex in animals, plants, and fungi, is a cofactor of RNA polymerase II (Pol II). It is known to promote basal Pol II-mediated transcription as well as bridge sequence-specific transcriptional regulators and Pol II to integrate regulatory information. Pol II transcribes not only protein-coding genes but also intergenic regions to generate noncoding RNAs such as small RNAs (microRNAs and small interfering RNAs) and long noncoding RNAs. Intriguingly, two plant-specific polymerases, Pol IV and Pol V, have evolved from Pol II and play a role in the production of small interfering RNAs and long noncoding RNAs at heterochromatic regions to maintain genome stability through transcriptional gene silencing (TGS). Recent studies have defined the composition of the plant Mediator and evaluated its role in noncoding RNA production in relationship to Pol II, Pol IV and Pol V. Here, we review the functions of Mediator and that of noncoding RNAs generated by Pol II, Pol IV and Pol V in plants, and discuss a role of Mediator in epigenetic regulation via noncoding RNA production.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics