microRNAs in Space

Identification of heavy-ion radiation-induced microRNAs in rice

An excellent model organism for studying the effects of environmental stress, rice (Oryza sativa) has been used to assess the damage of the space radiation environment for decades. The authors simulated space flight by exposing the germinated seeds of rice to various doses of 12C heavy-ion radiation. Heavy-ion radiation shows higher relative biological effectiveness compared to other cosmic-rays radiation.

To identify the specific miRNAs that underlie the biological effects of heavy-ion radiation, a microarray was employed to monitor the expression profiles of miRNAs in rice under 20 Gy dose of radiation stress. miR164a, miR164c, miR164d and miR156a-j were increased in all exposed samples and were thus identified as heavy-ion radiation-induced miRNAs. The up-regulated level of the miRNAs was correlated with down-regulated expression of their targets, SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING-LIKE (SPL) transcription factors and NAM/ATAF/CUC (NAC) transcription factors.

Analysis of phenotype indicated that 20 Gy dose of heavy-ion radiation was the semi-lethal dose of rice seedling. It was evident that both the height and survival rates of seedlings were markedly decreased.

Zhanga M, Liang S, Hang X, Xiang Y, Cheng Z, Li W, Shi J, Huang L, Sun Y (2010) Identification of heavy-ion radiation-induced microRNAs in rice. Adv Space Research [Epub ahead of print].  [abstract]

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