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Front Plant Sci. 2016 Feb 1;7:27. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00027. eCollection 2016.

Identification of MicroRNAs and Their Targets Associated with Fruit-Bagging and Subsequent Sunlight Re-exposure in the "Granny Smith" Apple Exocarp Using High-Throughput Sequencing.

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College of Horticulture, Northwest A&F University Yangling, China.
Shaanxi Province Key Laboratory of Bio-Resources, Shaanxi University of Technology Hanzhong, China.
Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science Rehovot, Israel.
College of Horticulture, Northwest A&F UniversityYangling, China; Apple E&T Research Centre of Shaanxi ProvinceYangling, China.


Bagged fruits of green apple cultivar "Granny Smith" have been found to turn cardinal red after debagging during fruit-ripening in the Loess Plateau region of China. To understand this phenomenon at post-transcriptional level, we have investigated the roles of microRNAs (miRNAs) in response to debagging. Three small RNA libraries were primarily constructed from peels of "Granny Smith" apples subjected to bagging followed by sunlight re-exposure treatments (0, 6 h, 1 day) (debagging), and from peels of apples without any bagging treatments (0, 6 h, 1 day). 201 known miRNAs belonging to 43 miRNA families and 220 novel miRNAs were identified via high-throughput sequencing. Some miRNAs were found to be differentially expressed after debagging, which indicated that miRNAs affected anthocyanin accumulation through their target genes in mature apple. To further explore the effect of debagging on miRNAs regulating the expression of anthocyanin regulatory genes, four miRNAs and their target genes regulating anthocyanin accumulation, miR156, miR828, miR858, and miR5072, were compared between green cultivar "Granny Smith" and red cultivar "Starkrimson." Results showed that mdm-miR828 and mdm-miR858 regulated anthocyanin contents in both apple cultivars, while mdm-miR156 only affected anthocyanin accumulation in "Granny Smith," and miR5072 affected anthocyanin accumulation in "Starkrimson." Additional analysis of gene ontology for the differentially expressed miRNAs after debagging treatments and their predicted target genes showed that they were involved in photo-protective response after debagging from 0 h to 1 day; they might play important roles in fruit development and adaptation to high light stress.


anthocyanin; apple; bagging treatment; high-throughput sequencing; microRNA; target gene expression

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