Science China Life Sciences

, Volume 61, Issue 2, pp 155–161 | Cite as

Transfer RNA-derived small RNAs in plants

  • Lei Zhu
  • David W. Ow
  • Zhicheng Dong


Rather than random degradation products, the 18 to 40 nucleotides (nt) transfer RNA-derived small RNAs (tsRNAs) are RNA species generated specifically from pre-RNAs or mature tRNAs in archaea, bacteria and eukaryotes. Recent studies from animal systems have shown that tsRNAs are important non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression at the transcriptional and/or post-transcriptional levels. They are involved in various biological processes, such as cell proliferation, tumor genesis, stress response and intergenerational epigenetic inheritance. In this review, we will summarize the discovery, biogenesis, and function of tsRNAs in higher plants. In addition, analysis on tsRNAs from lower plants is shown.


tRNA derived-small RNAs tsRNAs biogenesis plant 


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This work was supported by the General Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China (31471165 to Zhicheng Dong).

Supplementary material

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Supplemental Materials and Methods


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of South China Agricultural Plant Molecular Analysis and Genetic Improvement, South China Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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