Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are an increasingly studied group of non-protein coding transcripts with a wide variety of molecular functions gaining attention for their roles in numerous biological processes. Nearly 6,000 lncRNAs have been identified in Arabidopsis thaliana but many have yet to be studied. Here, we examine a class of previously uncharacterized lncRNAs termed CONSERVED IN BRASSICA RAPA (lncCOBRA) transcripts that were previously identified for their high level of sequence conservation in the related crop species Brassica rapa, their nuclear-localization and protein-bound nature. In particular, we focus on lncCOBRA1 and demonstrate that its abundance is highly tissue and developmental specific, with particularly high levels early in germination. lncCOBRA1 contains two snoRNAs domains within it, making it the first sno-lincRNA example in a non-mammalian system. However, we find that it is processed differently than its mammalian counterparts. We further show that plants lacking lncCOBRA1 display patterns of delayed germination and are overall smaller than wild-type plants. Lastly, we identify the proteins that interact with lncCOBRA1 and propose a novel mechanism of lincRNA action in which it may act as a scaffold with the RACK1A protein to regulate germination and development, possibly through a role in ribosome biogenesis.
- Arabidopsis thaliana
- long intergenic non-coding RNA
- long non-coding RNA
- RNA binding protein