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The Emerging World of Small ORFs
- Hellens, Roger P., Brown, Chris M., Chisnall, Matthew A.W., Waterhouse, Peter M., Macknight, Richard C.
- Trends in plant science 2016 v.21 no.4 pp. 317-328
- bioinformatics, genome, microRNA, open reading frames, peptides, ribosomes, start codon
- Small open reading frames (sORFs) are an often overlooked feature of plant genomes. Initially found in plant viral RNAs and considered an interesting curiosity, an increasing number of these sORFs have been shown to encode functional peptides or play a regulatory role. The recent discovery that many of these sORFs initiate with start codons other than AUG, together with the identification of functional small peptides encoded in supposedly noncoding primary miRNA transcripts (pri-miRs), has drastically increased the number of potentially functional sORFs within the genome. Here we review how advances in technology, notably ribosome profiling (RP) assays, are complementing bioinformatics and proteogenomic methods to provide powerful ways to identify these elusive features of plant genomes, and highlight the regulatory roles sORFs can play.