Cleavage and polyadenylation at the 3' end of the pre-mRNA is essential for mRNA function, by regulating its translatability, stability and translocation to the cytoplasm. Cleavage factor I (CFI) is a multi-subunit component of the pre-mRNA 3' end processing machinery in eukaryotes. Here, we report that plant CFI 25 subunit of CFI plays an important role in maintaining the diversity of the 3' ends of mRNA. The genome of Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. contained four genes encoding three putative CFI subunits (AtCFI 25, AtCFI 59 and AtCFI 68), orthologous to the mammalian CFI subunits. There were two CFI 25 paralogs (AtCFI 25a and AtCFI 25b) that shared homology with human CFI 25. Two null alleles of AtCFI 25a displayed smaller rosette leaves, longer stigmatic papilla, smaller anther, earlier flowering and lower fertility compared to wild-type plants. Null alleles of AtCFI 25b, as well as, plants ectopically expressing full-length cDNA of AtCFI 25a, displayed no obvious morphological defects. AtCFI 25a was shown to interact with AtCFI 25b, AtCFI 68 and itself, suggesting various forms of CFI in plants. Furthermore, we show that AtCFI 25a function was essential for maintaining proper diversity of the 3' end lengths of transcripts coding for CFI subunits, suggesting a self-regulation of the CFI machinery in plants. AtCFI 25a was also important to maintain 3' ends for other genes to different extent. Collectively, AtCFI 25a, but not AtCFI 25b, seemed to play important roles during Arabidopsis development by maintaining proper diversity of the 3' UTR lengths.
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