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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012 Oct 19;427(2):330-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.09.055. Epub 2012 Sep 18.

Overexpression of gma-MIR394a confers tolerance to drought in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana.

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The National Key Facility for Crop Gene Resources and Genetic Improvement, Institute of Crop Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, PR China.


MicroRNAs, key posttranscriptional regulators of eukaryotic gene expression, play important roles in plant development and response to stress. In this study, a soybean gma-MIR394a gene was functionally characterized, especially with regard to its role in drought stress resistance. Expression analysis revealed that gma-MIR394a was expressed differentially in various soybean tissues and was induced by drought, high salinity, low temperature stress, and abscisic acid treatment in leaves. One target gene of gma-miR394a, Glyma08g11030, was predicted and verified using a modified 5' RLM-RACE (RNA ligase-mediated rapid amplification of 5' cDNA ends) assay. Overexpression of gma-MIR394a resulted in plants with lowered leaf water loss and enhanced drought tolerance. Furthermore, overexpression of gma-MIR394a in Arabidopsis reduced the transcript of an F-box gene (At1g27340) containing a miR394 complementary target site. These results suggest that the gma-MIR394a gene functions in positive modulation of drought stress tolerance and has potential applications in molecular breeding to enhance drought tolerance in crops.

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