International journal of molecular sciences

Identification of miRNAs and Their Targets in Cotton Inoculated with Verticillium dahliae by High-Throughput Sequencing and Degradome Analysis.

PMID 26133244


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a group of endogenous small non-coding RNAs that play important roles in plant growth, development, and stress response processes. Verticillium wilt is a vascular disease in plants mainly caused by Verticillium dahliae Kleb., the soil-borne fungal pathogen. However, the role of miRNAs in the regulation of Verticillium defense responses is mostly unknown. This study aimed to identify new miRNAs and their potential targets that are involved in the regulation of Verticillium defense responses. Four small RNA libraries and two degradome libraries from mock-infected and infected roots of cotton (both Gossypium hirsutum L. and Gossypium barbadense L.) were constructed for deep sequencing. A total of 140 known miRNAs and 58 novel miRNAs were identified. Among the identified miRNAs, many were differentially expressed between libraries. Degradome analysis showed that a total of 83 and 24 genes were the targets of 31 known and 14 novel miRNA families, respectively. Gene Ontology analysis indicated that many of the identified miRNA targets may function in controlling root development and the regulation of Verticillium defense responses in cotton. Our findings provide an overview of potential miRNAs involved in the regulation of Verticillium defense responses in cotton and the interactions between miRNAs and their corresponding targets. The profiling of these miRNAs lays the foundation for further understanding of the function of small RNAs in regulating plant response to fungal infection and Verticillium wilt in particular.