Tissue and regional expression patterns of dicistronic tRNA–mRNA transcripts in grapevine (Vitis vinifera) and their evolutionary co-appearance with vasculature in land plants

Pastor Jullian Fabres, Lakshay Anand, Na Sai, Stephen Pederson, Fei Zheng, Alexander A. Stewart, Benjamin Clements, Edwin R. Lampugnani, James Breen, Matthew Gilliham, Penny Tricker, Carlos M. Rodríguez López, Rakesh David

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Transfer RNAs (tRNA) are crucial adaptor molecules between messenger RNA (mRNA) and amino acids. Recent evidence in plants suggests that dicistronic tRNA-like structures also act as mobile signals for mRNA transcripts to move between distant tissues. Co-transcription is not a common feature in the plant nuclear genome and, in the few cases where polycistronic transcripts have been found, they include non-coding RNA species, such as small nucleolar RNAs and microRNAs. It is not known, however, the extent to which dicistronic transcripts of tRNA and mRNAs are expressed in field-grown plants, or the factors contributing to their expression. We analysed tRNA–mRNA dicistronic transcripts in the major horticultural crop grapevine (Vitis vinifera) using a novel pipeline developed to identify dicistronic transcripts from high-throughput RNA-sequencing data. We identified dicistronic tRNA–mRNA in leaf and berry samples from 22 commercial vineyards. Of the 124 tRNA genes that were expressed in both tissues, 18 tRNA were expressed forming part of 19 dicistronic tRNA–mRNAs. The presence and abundance of dicistronic molecules was tissue and geographic sub-region specific. In leaves, the expression patterns of dicistronic tRNA–mRNAs significantly correlated with tRNA expression, suggesting that their transcriptional regulation might be linked. We also found evidence of syntenic genomic arrangements of tRNAs and protein-coding genes between grapevine and Arabidopsis thaliana, and widespread prevalence of dicistronic tRNA–mRNA transcripts among vascular land plants but no evidence of these transcripts in non-vascular lineages. This suggests that the appearance of plant vasculature and tRNA–mRNA occurred concurrently during the evolution of land plants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137
JournalHorticulture Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded through a Pilot Program in Genomic Applications in Agriculture and Environment Sectors jointly supported by the University of Adelaide and the Australian Genome Research Facility Ltd. P.J.F. was supported by Graduate Research Scholarships from Wine Australia (PH1503) and the University of Adelaide. N.S. was supported by a summer scholarship from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology (CE1400008). C.M.R.L. is currently partially supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, AFRI Competitive Grant Program Accession number 1018617 and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture, Hatch Program accession number 1020852. E.R.L. wishes to acknowledge ongoing support from Prof Staffan Persson through ARC FT and DP funding (DP190101941; FT160100218). We thank the Barossa Grounds Project and the growers who allowed us to collect samples and supplied information about their vineyards. We thank Kendall Corbin for performing the DNA extraction of the leaf samples. We thank Cassandra Collins for the experimental design and collection of the plant material. We thank Roberta DeBei, Sandra Milena Mantilla, Annette James and Valentin Olek who helped with the sample collection. We thank Stephen Tyerman for his contribution in the development of DiRT. We thank Timothy Cavagnaro and Andrew Metcalfe for their contribution in the experimental design. We thank Dr Uli Felzmann from Science IT, University of Melbourne, for assistance with high-performance computing infrastructure.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


Dive into the research topics of 'Tissue and regional expression patterns of dicistronic tRNA–mRNA transcripts in grapevine (Vitis vinifera) and their evolutionary co-appearance with vasculature in land plants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this