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Crop Biotech Update

Dek42 Encodes an RNA Binding Protein Affecting Maize Kernel Development

March 13, 2019

RNA binding proteins (RBPs) have essential roles in posttranscriptional gene regulation, however, such functions are yet to be explained. Thus, scientists from China Agricultural University and Shanghai University conducted a study to elucidate the function of one RBP (DEK42) in maize.

Dek42 is continuously expressed in the different tissues of maize. When this gene was mutated, there was a significant decrease in the build up BEK42 protein in mutant kernels. Analysis showed that the dek42 mutation changed the expression of thousands of genes during the development of maize kernel. Further analysis also showed that the dek42 mutation significantly changed alternative splicing in expressed genes, which were especially enriched for the U12‐type intron retained type.

The findings imply that DEK42 is vital in the regulation of pre-mRA splicing through its interaction with other spliceosome components.

Read more from the Journal of Integrative Plant Biology.