Specific chromatin states and translation machinery coordinate mRNA transport networks

Plants, like skilled artisans, utilize a complex system of mobile RNA to communicate across tissues and respond to their environment. This recent research published in Horticulture Research delves into the intricate details of this system.

Unlike a universal language, mobile RNA sets are surprisingly species-specific. Plants like pumpkin and cucumber possess distinct mobile RNA profiles compared to Arabidopsis. The cell-type specific chromatin environment determines where RNA is transcribed within the plant and what RNA epigenetic marks can be installed co-transcriptionally. A crucial thread woven into the tapestry of mobile mRNAs identified in this study is the mRNA m6A modification. This modification appears to play a dual role, ensuring both mRNA stability – essential for long-distance travel – and potentially regulating translation efficiency. This regulation might enable a low translation rate in the producing cell while promoting high translation upon arrival in the receiving cell. Interestingly, the effect of another modification, m5C, varies across plant species. While it shows translation inhibition role in Arabidopsis, it can be necessary for translation in rice. This highlights the intricate interplay between various factors like chromatin environment, m6A and m5C modifications, and their influence on mRNA stability and translation across different plant species.

In essence, this study unveils a dynamic model for mobile RNA movement in plants. This model emphasizes the tissue-specific nature of the process and the multifaceted role of m6A in regulating mobile RNA function. It paves the way for further exploration of how plants utilize this intricate communication system to adapt and thrive.