Identification and expression profiling of Vigna mungo microRNAs from leaf small RNA transcriptome by deep sequencing

Sujay Paul, Anirban Kundu, Amita Pal
Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 2014, 56 (1): 15-23
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) represent a class of small non-coding RNA molecules that play a crucial role in post-transcriptional gene regulation. Several conserved and species-specific miRNAs have been characterized to date, predominantly from the plant species whose genome is well characterized. However, information on the variability of these regulatory RNAs in economically important but genetically less characterized crop species are limited. Vigna mungo is an important grain legume, which is grown primarily for its protein-rich edible seeds. miRNAs from this species have not been identified to date due to lack of genome sequence information. To identify miRNAs from V. mungo, a small RNA library was constructed from young leaves. High-throughput Illumina sequencing technology and bioinformatic analysis of the small RNA reads led to the identification of 66 miRNA loci represented by 45 conserved miRNAs belonging to 19 families and eight non-conserved miRNAs belonging to seven families. Besides, 13 novel miRNA candidates in V. mungo were also identified. Expression patterns of selected conserved, non-conserved, and novel miRNA candidates have been demonstrated in leaf, stem, and root tissues by quantitative polymerase chain reaction, and potential target genes were predicted for most of the conserved miRNAs. This information offers genomic resources for better understanding of miRNA mediated post-transcriptional gene regulation.

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