Noncoding RNAs have emerged as major components of the eukaryotic transcriptome. Genome-wide analyses revealed the existence of thousands of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in crops and model plant species. Plant lncRNAs are involved in a wide range of regulatory mechanisms impacting on gene expression, including chromatin remodeling, modulation of alternative splicing, fine-tuning of miRNA activity, and the control of mRNA translation or accumulation (Ariel et al., 2015).

In the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the Ariel lab has shown that the APOLO (AUXIN REGULATED PROMOTER LOOP RNA) was implicated in epigenetic and chromatin conformation dynamics. APOLO regulates the transcriptional activity of its neighboring gene PID by modulating the local 3D chromatin conformation (Ariel et al., 2014), and a plethora of target genes across the Arabidopsis genome, by sequence complementarity and DNA-RNA duplex (R-loop) formation (Ariel et al., 2020).

The Ariel lab also showed that APOLO regulates the response to low temperatures by interacting with the transcription factor WRKY42 (Moison et al., 2021 and Martínez-Pacheco et al., 2021). More recently, APOLO was also linked to the morphogenic response of the plant to warmth. Strikingly, the role of APOLO was mimicked by the human lncRNA UPAT when expressed in Arabidopsis. APOLO and UPAT interact with homolog protein partners, hinting at common lncRNA integrated epigenetic machineries across kingdoms (Fonouni-Farde et al., 2022). In 2023, The Ariel lab demonstrated that the lncRNA can be applied as an exogenous epigenetically active molecule to modulate hormone homeostasis and the response of the plant to the environment (Mammarella et al., 2023).

We find the biology of APOLO fascinating and we’ve decided to name our company after it!

Federico Ariel was one of the five UNESCO-Al Fozan awardees 2023 for young scientists in STEM

APOLO Track Record

  • 2014

    Noncoding Transcription by Alternative RNA Polymerases Dynamically Regulates an Auxin-Driven Chromatin Loop (Molecular Cell)

  • 2015

    Battles and hijacks: noncoding transcription in plants (Trends in Plant Science)

  • 2020

    R-Loop Mediated trans Action of the APOLO Long Noncoding RNA (Molecular Cell).

    Commented by Maire Huarte: lncRNA–DNA hybrids regulate distant genes (EMBO Reports)

  • 2020

    Long noncoding RNAs shape transcription in plants (Transcription)

  • 2021

    The lncRNA APOLO interacts with the transcription factor WRKY42 to trigger root hair cell expansion in response to cold (Molecular Plant).

    Commented by Tibor Csorba: APOLO lncRNA, a self-calibrating switch of root development (Molecular Plant).

    The lncRNA APOLO and the transcription factor WRKY42 target common cell wall EXTENSIN encoding genes to trigger root hair cell elongation (Plant Signaling & Behavior).

  • 2021

    Functional classification of plant long noncoding RNAs: a transcript is known by the company it keeps (New Phytologist)

  • 2021

    Plant Long Noncoding RNAs: New Players in the Field of Post-Transcriptional Regulations (non-coding RNA)

  • 2021

    When junk DNA turns functional: transposon-derived noncoding RNAs in plants (Journal of Experimental Botany)

  • 2022

    The Arabidopsis APOLO and human UPAT sequence‑unrelated long noncoding RNAs can modulate DNA and histone methylation machineries in plants (Genome Biology)

  • 2023

    Long noncoding RNA-mediated epigenetic regulation of auxin-related genes controls shade avoidance syndrome in Arabidopsis (EMBO Journal)

Read more about the science behind APOLO

Visit the Google Scholar Profile of our CSO, Dr. Federico Ariel.