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Front Plant Sci. 2017 Jun 21;8:1055. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.01055. eCollection 2017.

Allelic Interactions among Pto-MIR475b and Its Four Target Genes Potentially Affect Growth and Wood Properties in Populus.

Xiao L1,2,3, Quan M1,2,3, Du Q1,2,3, Chen J1,2,3, Xie J1,2,3, Zhang D1,2,3.

Author information

1
Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Tree Breeding by Molecular Design, College of Biological Sciences and Technology, Beijing Forestry UniversityBeijing, China.
2
National Engineering Laboratory for Tree Breeding, College of Biological Sciences and Technology, Beijing Forestry UniversityBeijing, China.
3
Key Laboratory of Genetics and Breeding in Forest Trees and Ornamental Plants, Ministry of Education, College of Biological Sciences and Technology, Beijing Forestry UniversityBeijing, China.

Abstract

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play crucial roles in plant growth and development, but few studies have illuminated the allelic interactions among miRNAs and their targets in perennial plants. Here, we combined analysis of expression patterns and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based association studies to explore the interactions between Pto-MIR475b and its four target genes (Pto-PPR1, Pto-PPR2, Pto-PPR3, and Pto-PPR4) in 435 unrelated individuals of Populus tomentosa. Expression patterns showed a significant negative correlation (r = -0.447 to -0.411, P < 0.01) between Pto-MIR475b and its four targets in eight tissues of P. tomentosa, suggesting that Pto-miR475b may negatively regulate the four targets. Single SNP-based association studies identified 93 significant associations (P < 0.01, Q < 0.1) representing associations of 80 unique SNPs in Pto-MIR475b and its four targets with nine traits, revealing their potential roles in tree growth and wood formation. Moreover, one common SNP in the precursor region significantly altered the secondary structure of the pre-Pto-miR475b and changed the expression level of Pto-MIR475b. Analysis of epistatic interactions identified 115 significant SNP-SNP associations (P < 0.01) representing 45 unique SNPs from Pto-MIR475b and its four targets for 10 traits, revealing that genetic interactions between Pto-MIR475b and its targets influence quantitative traits of perennial plants. Our study provided a feasible strategy to study population genetics in forest trees and enhanced our understanding of miRNAs by dissecting the allelic interactions between this miRNA and its targets in P. tomentosa.

KEYWORDS:

MiRNA; Pto-MiR475b; allelic interaction; association study; tree growth; wood formation

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