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PLoS One. 2011;6(5):e19523. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019523. Epub 2011 May 16.

High-throughput sequencing, characterization and detection of new and conserved cucumber miRNAs.

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  • 1Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas, Consejo Superior Investigaciones Científicas-Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Valencia, Spain.


Micro RNAS (miRNAs) are a class of endogenous small non coding RNAs involved in the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. In plants, a great number of conserved and specific miRNAs, mainly arising from model species, have been identified to date. However less is known about the diversity of these regulatory RNAs in vegetal species with agricultural and/or horticultural importance. Here we report a combined approach of bioinformatics prediction, high-throughput sequencing data and molecular methods to analyze miRNAs populations in cucumber (Cucumis sativus) plants. A set of 19 conserved and 6 known but non-conserved miRNA families were found in our cucumber small RNA dataset. We also identified 7 (3 with their miRNA* strand) not previously described miRNAs, candidates to be cucumber-specific. To validate their description these new C. sativus miRNAs were detected by northern blot hybridization. Additionally, potential targets for most conserved and new miRNAs were identified in cucumber genome.In summary, in this study we have identified, by first time, conserved, known non-conserved and new miRNAs arising from an agronomically important species such as C. sativus. The detection of this complex population of regulatory small RNAs suggests that similarly to that observe in other plant species, cucumber miRNAs may possibly play an important role in diverse biological and metabolic processes.

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