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Endoribonuclease Dicer homolog 1
Organism Arabidopsis thaliana
Symbol DCL1
UniProt Q9SP32

DCL1 (an abbreviation of Dicer-like 1) is a gene in plants that codes for the DCL1 protein, a ribonuclease III enzyme involved in processing microRNA (miRNA).[1] Although DCL1 is named for its homology with the metazoan protein Dicer, its role in miRNA biogenesis is somewhat different, due to substantial differences in miRNA maturation processes between plants and animals.[2] Unlike Dicer, DCL1 is localized to the cell nucleus, where it initiates miRNA processing as the catalytic component of the so-called Dicing complex, which also contains HYL1, a double-stranded RNA binding protein, and a zinc-finger protein known as SE or SERRATE. Within the nucleus, Dicing complexes co-localize in Dicing bodies or D-bodies. In plants, DCL1 is responsible both for processing a primary miRNA to a pre-miRNA, and for then processing the pre-miRNA to a mature miRNA.[3] In animals, the equivalents of these two steps are carried out by different proteins; pri-miRNA processing takes place in the nucleus by the ribonuclease Drosha as part of the Microprocessor complex, and processing to a mature miRNA takes place in the cytoplasm by Dicer to yield a mature miRNA.[2]

Although DCL1 is responsible for the majority of the miRNA processing in plants, most plants contain an additional three members of the same family (DCL2, DCL3, DCL4) with related roles in RNA processing.[4][5]


  1. ^ Schauer, SE; Jacobsen, SE; Meinke, DW; Ray, A (November 2002). "DICER-LIKE1: blind men and elephants in Arabidopsis development.". Trends in Plant Science. 7 (11): 487–91. PMID 12417148. doi:10.1016/s1360-1385(02)02355-5. 
  2. ^ a b Axtell, MJ; Westholm, JO; Lai, EC (2011). "Vive la différence: biogenesis and evolution of microRNAs in plants and animals.". Genome Biology. 12 (4): 221. PMC 3218855Freely accessible. PMID 21554756. doi:10.1186/gb-2011-12-4-221. 
  3. ^ Fang, Xiaofeng; Cui, Yuwei; Li, Yaoxi; Qi, Yijun (1 June 2015). "Transcription and processing of primary microRNAs are coupled by Elongator complex in Arabidopsis". Nature Plants. 1 (6): 15075. doi:10.1038/nplants.2015.75. 
  4. ^ Parent, JS; Bouteiller, N; Elmayan, T; Vaucheret, H (January 2015). "Respective contributions of Arabidopsis DCL2 and DCL4 to RNA silencing.". The Plant journal : for cell and molecular biology. 81 (2): 223–32. PMID 25376953. doi:10.1111/tpj.12720. 
  5. ^ Nagano, H; Fukudome, A; Hiraguri, A; Moriyama, H; Fukuhara, T (February 2014). "Distinct substrate specificities of Arabidopsis DCL3 and DCL4.". Nucleic Acids Research. 42 (3): 1845–56. PMC 3919572Freely accessible. PMID 24214956. doi:10.1093/nar/gkt1077.