Identification of Cassava MicroRNAs under Abiotic Stress

Title 
Identification of Cassava MicroRNAs under Abiotic Stress 
Publication Type 
Journal Article 
Authors 
Ballén-Taborda C, Plata G, Ayling S, Rodríguez-Zapata F, Lopez-Lavalle LAB, Duitama J, Tohme J 
Year of Publication 
2013 
Volume 
201340561017414084019413203-20472675475 
Journal 
International Journal of Genomics 
Issue 
541412441034469 
Pagination 
1 - 10 
Date Published 
2013 
ISSN 
2314-4378 
URL 
http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijg/2013/857986/ 
Keywords 
abiotic stresses, Biotic stresses, Cassava, high-throughput sequencing, Manihot esculenta Crantz, microRNAs, miRNAs 
DOI 
10.1155/2013/857986 
Abstract 

The study of microRNAs (miRNAs) in plants has gained significant attention in recent years due to their regulatory role during development and in response to biotic and abiotic stresses. Although cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is tolerant to drought and other adverse conditions, most cassava miRNAs have been predicted using bioinformatics alone or through sequencing of plants challenged by biotic stress. Here, we use high-throughput sequencing and different bioinformatics methods to identify potential cassava miRNAs, expressed in different tissues subject to heat and drought conditions. We identified 60 miRNAs conserved in other plant species and 821 potential cassava-specific miRNAs. We also predicted 134 and 1002 potential target genes for these two sets of sequences. Using real time PCR, we verified the condition-specific expression of 5 cassava small RNAs relative to a non-stress control. We also found, using publicly available expression data, a significantly lower expression of the predicted target genes of conserved and nonconserved miRNAs under drought stress compared to other cassava genes. Gene Ontology enrichment analysis along with condition specific expression of predicted miRNA targets, allowed us to identify several interesting miRNAs which may play a role in stress-induced posttranscriptional regulation in cassava and other plants.

 
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