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Genome Biology

, 8:R96

First Online: 01 June 2007Received: 04 December 2006Revised: 27 February 2007Accepted: 01 June 2007


BackgroundMicroRNAs miRNAs are a class of small, non-coding regulatory RNAs that regulate gene expression by guiding target mRNA cleavage or translational inhibition. So far, identification of miRNAs has been limited to a few model plant species, such as Arabidopsis, rice and Populus, whose genomes have been sequenced. Wheat is one of the most important cereal crops worldwide. To date, only a few conserved miRNAs have been predicted in wheat and the computational identification of wheat miRNAs requires the genome sequence, which is unknown.

ResultsTo identify novel as well as conserved miRNAs in wheat Triticum aestivum L., we constructed a small RNA library. High throughput sequencing of the library and subsequent analysis revealed the identification of 58 miRNAs, comprising 43 miRNA families. Of these, 35 miRNAs belong to 20 conserved miRNA families. The remaining 23 miRNAs are novel and form 23 miRNA families in wheat; more importantly, 4 of these new miRNAs miR506, miR510, miR514 and miR516 appear to be monocot-specific. Northern blot analysis indicated that some of the new miRNAs are preferentially expressed in certain tissues. Based on sequence homology, we predicted 46 potential targets. Thus, we have identified a large number of monocot-specific and wheat-specific miRNAs. These results indicate that both conserved and wheat-specific miRNAs play important roles in wheat growth and development, stress responses and other physiological processes.

ConclusionThis study led to the discovery of 58 wheat miRNAs comprising 43 miRNA families; 20 of these families are conserved and 23 are novel in wheat. It provides a first large scale cloning and characterization of wheat miRNAs and their predicted targets.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-gb-2007-8-6-r96 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Yingyin Yao, Ganggang Guo contributed equally to this work.

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Autor: Yingyin Yao - Ganggang Guo - Zhongfu Ni - Ramanjulu Sunkar - Jinkun Du - Jian-Kang Zhu - Qixin Sun


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