Biochemical characterization of the dicing activity of Dicer-like 2 in the model filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa
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Dicing of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) into small RNA is an essential process to trigger transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene silencing. Using cell-free extracts of the model filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa, we successfully detected the dicing activity of one of two N. crassa Dicers NcDCL2. The predominant 23-nucleotide (nt) cleavage product was always detected from 30-nt to 130-nt dsRNA substrates, and additional products of approximately 18 to 28 nt were occasionally produced. The enzymatic properties of NcDCL2 are different from those of insect and plant small interfering RNA (siRNA)-producing Dicers, Drosophila melanogaster Dicer-2 and Arabidopsis thaliana DCL3 and DCL4 (AtDCL3 and AtDCL4). Whereas AtDCL3 and AtDCL4 preferentially cleave short and long dsRNAs, respectively, NcDCL2 cleaved both short and long dsRNAs. These results suggest that N. crassa has a single siRNA-producing Dicer NcDCL2, which is a prototype of plant siRNA-producing Dicers with distinct functions in diverse RNA silencing pathways. The dicing assay reported here is convenient to detect and biochemically characterize the dicing activities of both plant and fungal Dicers, and is likely applicable to other organisms.
author list (cited authors)
Tabara, M., Koiwa, H., Suzuki, N., & Fukuhara, T.