Genome-Wide Identification and Characterization of Salinity Stress-Responsive miRNAs in Wild Emmer Wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccoides).
Kewei Feng, Xiaojun Nie, Licao Cui, Pingchuan Deng, Mengxing Wang, Weining Song.
Abstract: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of endogenous small noncoding RNAs which regulate diverse molecular and biochemical processes at a post-transcriptional level in plants. As the ancestor of domesticated wheat, wild emmer wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccoides) has great genetic potential for wheat improvement. However, little is known about miRNAs and their functions on salinity stress in wild emmer. To obtain more information on miRNAs in wild emmer, we systematically investigated and characterized the salinity-responsive miRNAs using deep sequencing technology. A total of 88 conserved and 124 novel miRNAs were identified, of which 50 were proven to be salinity-responsive miRNAs, with 32 significantly up-regulated and 18 down-regulated. miR172b and miR1120a, as well as mi393a, were the most significantly differently expressed. Targets of these miRNAs were computationally predicted, then Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis found that the targets of salinity-responsive miRNAs were enriched in transcription factors and stress-related proteins. Finally, we investigated the expression profiles of seven miRNAs ranging between salt-tolerant and sensitive genotypes, and found that they played critical roles in salinity tolerance in wild emmer. Our results systematically identified the salinity-responsive miRNAs in wild emmer, not only enriching the miRNA resource but also laying the foundation for further study on the biological functions and evolution of miRNAs in wild wheat and beyond.