The epigenetic factor FVE orchestrates cytoplasmic SGS3-DRB4-DCL4 activities to promote transgene silencing in Arabidopsis.
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Posttranscriptional gene silencing (PTGS) is a regulatory mechanism to suppress undesired transcripts. Here, we identified Flowering locus VE (FVE), a well-known epigenetic component, as a new player in cytoplasmic PTGS. Loss-of-function fve mutations substantially reduced the accumulation of transgene-derived small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). FVE interacts with suppressor of gene silencing 3 (SGS3), a master component in PTGS. FVE promotes SGS3 homodimerization that is essential for its function. FVE can bind to single-stranded RNA and double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) with moderate affinities, while its truncated form FVE-8 has a significantly increased binding affinity to dsRNA. These affinities affect the association and channeling of SGS3-RNA to downstream dsRNA binding protein 4 (DRB4)/Dicer-like protein 2/4 (DCL2/4) complexes. Hence, FVE, but not FVE-8, biochemically enhances the DRB4/DCL2/4 activity in vitro. We surmise that FVE promotes production of transgene-derived siRNAs through concertedly tuning SGS3-DRB4/DCL2/4 functions. Thus, this study revealed a noncanonical role of FVE in PTGS.