Non-canonical NAD-capped RNAs in Arabidopsis: mechanisms of capping and decapping and molecular and physiological functions



Gene expression is the process by which a gene (DNA) is converted into a functional product, such as a protein. Messenger RNAs (mRNAs) act as the intermediates in gene expression and carry the instructions for making proteins from genes. Cells modify mRNAs in different ways to mediate their functions.  Eukaryotic mRNAs generally have a cap at their 5’ end that is termed the m7G cap. This cap mediates almost all steps of gene expression. Recently, it has been reported that some RNAs in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes have an NAD molecule as their cap. These findings indicate a novel mechanism in regulating gene expression through the NAD cap. However, the mechanisms of NAD capping and decapping and molecular and biological functions of NAD-capped RNAs (NAD-RNAs) remain to be defined.


We have developed a new method termed NAD tagSeq for identification, quantification, and characterization of NAD-RNAs. This method and other approaches will be used in this project to reveal how NAD-RNAs are produced and how the NAD cap controls gene expression in various plant biological processes using Arabidopsis as a model. The project will be carried out by a research team with complementary expertise. This study will make a significant contribution for understanding the functions of NAD-RNAs in regulating gene expression in all types of living organisms.


Project Investigator

Professor Xia Yiji (BIOL)


Co-principal Investigators

Professor Cai Zongwei (CHEM)

Professor Xiong Liming (BIOL)


Research Grant Council - Collaborative Research Fund