5. The Small RNAs of Physcomitrella patens: Expression, Function and Evolution

  1. Celia D. Knight2,
  2. Pierre-François Perroud3 and
  3. David J. Cove2,3
  1. Michael J. Axtell

Published Online: 10 JUL 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444316070.ch5

Annual Plant Reviews Volume 36: The Moss

Annual Plant Reviews Volume 36: The Moss

How to Cite

Axtell, M. J. (2009) The Small RNAs of Physcomitrella patens: Expression, Function and Evolution, in Annual Plant Reviews Volume 36: The Moss (eds C. D. Knight, P.-F. Perroud and D. J. Cove), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444316070.ch5

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Centre for Plant Sciences, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK

  2. 3

    Department of Biology, CB#1137, One Brookings Drive, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130-4899, USA

Author Information

  1. Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University, PA 16802-5301, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 10 JUL 2009
  2. Published Print: 15 MAY 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405181891

Online ISBN: 9781444316070



  • Argonaute;
  • Dicer;
  • microRNA;
  • RNAi silencing;
  • siRNA


Information encoded by the sequential arrangement of DNA bases guides the synthesis of functional polypeptides via RNA intermediates. However, the functions of RNA transcend those of a mere messenger. The discovery and characterization of gene regulation orchestrated by short, non-protein-coding RNAs has revealed previously unsuspected but vast systems of gene regulation, especially in metazoans and land plants. Small silencing RNAs, which include short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs), are exceptionally diversified and numerous in plants. Their known roster of functions includes, at a minimum, development, morphogenesis, nutrient acquisition and genome defence. Recent studies of the naturally occurring small silencing RNAs of Physcomitrella patens have elucidated fundamental aspects of siRNA biogenesis and miRNA evolution. In this chapter, I describe the biogenesis and expression of miRNAs and siRNAs in P. patens, as well as their functions and evolution.