Chloroplast-to-Nucleus Signaling Regulates MicroRNA Biogenesis in Arabidopsis.

As integral regulators in plant development and stress response, microRNAs (miRNAs) themselves need to be tightly regulated. Here, we show that tocopherols (vitamin E), lipid-soluble antioxidants synthesized from tyrosine in chloroplasts, positively regulate the biogenesis of miRNAs. Tocopherols are required for the accumulation of 3'-phosphoadenosine 5'-phosphate (PAP), a retrograde inhibitor of the nuclear exoribonucleases (XRN), which may protect primary miRNAs from being degraded and promote mature miRNA production. Such regulation is involved in heat-induced accumulation of miR398 and plant acquisition of heat tolerance. Our study reveals a chloroplast-to-nucleus signaling mechanism that favors miRNA biogenesis under heat and possibly other environmental perturbations.