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BMC Plant Biol. 2019 Dec 19;19(1):570. doi: 10.1186/s12870-019-2189-9.

MicroRNA-mRNA expression profiles and their potential role in cadmium stress response in Brassica napus.

Author information

1
Institute of Crop and Nuclear Technology Utilization, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hangzhou, China.
2
Department of Plant Breeding, IFZ for Biosystems, Land Use and Nutrition, Justus Liebig University, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26-32, 35392, Giessen, Germany.
3
Key Laboratory of Crop Physiology, Ecology and Genetic Breeding, Ministry of Education, Agronomy College, Jiangxi Agricultural University, Nanchang, 330045, China.
4
Key Laboratory of Crop Physiology, Ecology and Genetic Breeding, Ministry of Education, Agronomy College, Jiangxi Agricultural University, Nanchang, 330045, China. fudhui@163.com.
5
Institute of Crop and Nuclear Technology Utilization, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hangzhou, China. yuhuasheng-0@163.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Oilseed rape is an excellent candidate for phytoremediation of cadmium (Cd) contaminated soils given its advantages of high biomass, fast growth, moderate metal accumulation, ease of harvesting, and metal tolerance, but the cadmium response pathways in this species (Brassica napus) have yet to be fully elucidated. A combined analysis of miRNA and mRNA expression to infer Cd-induced regulation has not been reported in B. napus.

RESULTS:

We characterized concurrent changes in miRNA and mRNA profiles in the roots and shoots of B. napus seedlings after 10 days of 10 mg/L Cd2+ treatment. Cd treatment significantly affected the expression of 22 miRNAs belonging to 11 families in the root and 29 miRNAs belonging to 14 miRNA families in the shoot. Five miRNA families (MIR395, MIR397, MIR398, MIR408 and MIR858) and three novel miRNAs were differentially expressed in both tissues. A total of 399 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in the root and 389 DEGs in the shoot were identified, with very little overlap between tissue types. Eight anti-regulation miRNA-mRNA interaction pairs in the root and eight in the shoot were identified in response to Cd and were involved in key plant stress response pathways: for example, four genes targeted by miR398 were involved in a pathway for detoxification of superoxide radicals. Cd stress significantly impacted the photosynthetic pathway. Transcription factor activation, antioxidant response pathways and secondary metabolic processes such as glutathione (GSH) and phenylpropanoid metabolism were identified as major components for Cd-induced response in both roots and shoots.

CONCLUSIONS:

Combined miRNA and mRNA profiling revealed miRNAs, genes and pathways involved in Cd response which are potentially critical for adaptation to Cd stress in B. napus. Close crosstalk between several Cd-induced miRNAs and mRNAs was identified, shedding light on possible mechanisms for response to Cd stress in underground and aboveground tissues in B. napus. The pathways, genes, and miRNAs identified here will be valuable targets for future improvement of cadmium tolerance in B. napus.

KEYWORDS:

Brassica napus; Cadmium; Expression; mRNAs; microRNAs

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