Although RNA silencing has been studied primarily in model plants, advances in high-throughput sequencing technologies have enabled profiling of the small RNA components of many more plant species, providing insights into the ubiquity and conservatism of some miRNA-based regulatory mechanisms. Small RNAs of 20 to 24 nucleotides (nt) are important regulators of gene transcript levels by either transcriptional or by posttranscriptional gene silencing, contributing to genome maintenance and controlling a variety of developmental and physiological processes. Here, we used deep sequencing and molecular methods to create an inventory of the small RNAs in the mangrove species, Avicennia marina. We identified 26 novel mangrove miRNAs and 193 conserved miRNAs belonging to 36 families. We determined that 2 of the novel miRNAs were produced from known miRNA precursors and 4 were likely to be species-specific by the criterion that we found no homologs in other plant species. We used qRT-PCR to analyze the expression of miRNAs and their target genes in different tissue sets and some demonstrated tissue-specific expression. Furthermore, we predicted potential targets of these putative miRNAs based on a sequence homology and experimentally validated through endonucleolytic cleavage assays. Our results suggested that expression profiles of miRNAs and their predicted targets could be useful in exploring the significance of the conservation patterns of plants, particularly in response to abiotic stress. Because of their well-developed abilities in this regard, mangroves and other extremophiles are excellent models for such exploration. © 2013 Khraiwesh et al.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)