Microarray-based identification and profiling of microRNAs in plants

by Chris on March 31, 2011

in Technical Article

Microarray-based analysis of cadmium-responsive microRNAs in rice (Oryza sativa).

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate specific target mRNAs at the post-transcriptional level. Plant miRNAs have been implicated in developmental processes and adaptations to environmental stresses. Cadmium (Cd) is a non-essential heavy metal that is highly toxic to plants. To investigate the responsive functions of miRNAs under Cd stress, miRNA expression in Cd-stressed rice (Oryza sativa) was profiled using a microarray assay. A total of 19 Cd-responsive miRNAs were identified, of which six were further validated experimentally. Target genes were also predicted for these Cd-responsive miRNAs, which encoded transcription factors, and proteins associated with metabolic processes or stress responses. In addition, the mRNA levels of several targets were negatively correlated with the corresponding miRNAs under Cd stress. Promoter analysis showed that metal stress-responsive cis-elements tended to occur more frequently in the promoter regions of Cd-responsive miRNAs. These findings suggested that miRNAs played an important role in Cd tolerance in rice, and highlighted a novel molecular mechanism of heavy metal tolerance in plants.

Ding Y, Chen Z, Zhu C. (2011) Microarray-based analysis of cadmium-responsive microRNAs in rice (Oryza sativa). J Exp Bot [Epub ahead of print]. [article]

Microarray-based identification of tomato microRNAs and time course analysis of their response to Cucumber mosaic virus infection.

Abstract: A large number of plant microRNAs (miRNAs) are now documented in the miRBase, among which only 30 are for Solanum lycopersicum (tomato). Clearly, there is a far-reaching need to identify and profile the expression of miRNAs in this important crop under various physiological and pathological conditions. In this study, we used an in situ synthesized custom microarray of plant miRNAs to examine the expression and temporal presence of miRNAs in the leaves of tomato plants infected with Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). Following computational sequence homology search and hairpin structure prediction, we identified three novel tomato miRNA precursor genes. Our results also show that, in accordance with the phenotype of the developing leaves, the tomato miRNAs are differentially expressed at different stages of plant development and that CMV infection can induce or suppress the expression of miRNAs as well as up-regulate some star miRNAs (miRNA*s) which are normally present at much lower levels. The results indicate that developmental anomalies elicited by virus infection may be caused by more complex biological processes.

Lang QL, Zhou XC, Zhang XL, Drabek R, Zuo ZX, Ren YL, Li TB, Chen JS, Gao XL. (2011) Microarray-based identification of tomato microRNAs and time course analysis of their response to Cucumber mosaic virus infection. J Zhejiang Univ Sci B. 12(2),116-25. [abstract]

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