Physiologia plantarum

Small RNA deep sequencing identifies novel and salt-stress-regulated microRNAs from roots of Medicago sativa and Medicago truncatula.

PMID 25156209


Small 21- to 24-nucleotide (nt) ribonucleic acids (RNAs), notably the microRNA (miRNA), are emerging as a posttranscriptional regulation mechanism. Salt stress is one of the primary abiotic stresses that cause the crop losses worldwide. In saline lands, root growth and function of plant are determined by the action of environmental salt stress through specific genes that adapt root development to the restrictive condition. To elucidate the role of miRNAs in salt stress regulation in Medicago, we used a high-throughput sequencing approach to analyze four small RNA libraries from roots of Zhongmu-1 (Medicago sativa) and Jemalong A17 (Medicago truncatula), which were treated with 300 mM NaCl for 0 and 8 h. Each library generated about 20 million short sequences and contained predominantly small RNAs of 24-nt length, followed by 21-nt and 22-nt small RNAs. Using sequence analysis, we identified 385 conserved miRNAs from 96 families, along with 68 novel candidate miRNAs. Of all the 68 predicted novel miRNAs, 15 miRNAs were identified to have miRNA*. Statistical analysis on abundance of sequencing read revealed specific miRNA showing contrasting expression patterns between M. sativa and M. truncatula roots, as well as between roots treated for 0 and 8 h. The expression of 10 conserved and novel miRNAs was also quantified by quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). The miRNA precursor and target genes were predicted by bioinformatics analysis. We concluded that the salt stress related conserved and novel miRNAs may have a large variety of target mRNAs, some of which might play key roles in salt stress regulation of Medicago.