Plant multisubunit RNA polymerase V (Pol V) transcription recruits Argonaute-small interfering RNA (siRNA) complexes that specify sites of RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) for gene silencing. Pol V's largest subunit, NRPE1, evolved from the largest subunit of Pol II but has a distinctive C-terminal domain (CTD). We show that the Pol V CTD is dispensable for catalytic activity in vitro yet essential in vivo. One CTD subdomain (DeCL) is required for Pol V function at virtually all loci. Other CTD subdomains have locus-specific effects. In a yeast two-hybrid screen, the 3'→ 5' exoribonuclease RRP6L1 was identified as an interactor with the DeCL and glutamine-serine (QS)-rich subdomains located downstream of an Argonaute-binding subdomain. Experimental evidence indicates that RRP6L1 trims the 3' ends of Pol V transcripts sliced by Argonaute 4 (AGO4), suggesting a model whereby the CTD enables the spatial and temporal coordination of AGO4 and RRP6L1 RNA processing activities.
Jered M. Wendte, Jeremy R. Haag, Jasleen Singh, Anastasia McKinlay, Olga M. Pontes and Craig S. Pikaard (2017) Functional dissection of the Pol V largest subunit CTD in RNA-directed DNA methylation. Cell Reports 19:2796-2808