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J Exp Bot. 2010 Oct;61(15):4157-68. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erq237. Epub 2010 Aug 20.

Genome-wide identification and analysis of drought-responsive microRNAs in Oryza sativa.

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National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, College of Plant Science, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China.


In addition to regulating growth and development, the most important function of microRNAs (miRNAs) in plants is the regulation of a variety of cellular processes underlying plant adaptation to environmental stresses. To gain a deep understanding of the mechanism of drought tolerance in rice, genome-wide profiling and analysis of miRNAs was carried out in drought-challenged rice across a wide range of developmental stages, from tillering to inflorescence formation, using a microarray platform. Among the 30 miRNAs identified as significantly down- or up-regulated under the drought stress, 11 down-regulated miRNAs (miR170, miR172, miR397, miR408, miR529, miR896, miR1030, miR1035, miR1050, miR1088, and miR1126) and eight up-regulated miRNAs (miR395, miR474, miR845, miR851, miR854, miR901, miR903, and miR1125) were revealed for the first time to be induced by drought stress in plants, and nine (miR156, miR168, miR170, miR171, miR172, miR319, miR396, miR397, and miR408) showed opposite expression to that observed in drought-stressed Arabidopsis. The most conserved down-regulated miRNAs were ath-miR170, the miR171 family, and ath-miR396, and the most conserved up-regulated miRNAs were ptc-miR474 and ath-miR854a. The identification of differentially expressed novel plant miRNAs and their target genes, and the analysis of cis-elements provides molecular evidence for the possible involvement of miRNAs in the process of drought response and/or tolerance in rice.

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