Article

Comparative expression of miRNA genes and miRNA-based AFLP marker analysis in cultivated tetraploid cottons.

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico State University, MSC 3Q, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA.
Journal of Plant Physiology (Impact Factor: 2.77). 12/2011; 168(8):824-30. DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2010.10.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that down-regulate gene expression in a sequence specific manner to control plant growth and development. The identification and characterization of miRNAs are critical steps in finding their target genes and elucidating their functions. The objective of the present study was to assess the genetic variation of miRNA genes through expression comparisons and miRNA-based AFLP marker analysis. Seven miRNAs were first selected for RT-PCR and four for quantitative RT-PCR analysis that showed considerably high or differential expression levels in early stages of boll development. Except for miR160a, differential gene expression of miR171, 390a, and 396a was detected in early developing bolls at one or more timepoints between two cultivated cotton cultivars, Pima Phy 76 (Gossypium barbadense) and Acala 1517-99 (Gossypium hirsutum). Our further work demonstrated that genetic diversity of miRNA genes can be assessed by miRNA-AFLP analysis using primers designed from 22 conserved miRNA genes in combination with AFLP primers. Homologous miRNA genes can be also identified and isolated for sequencing and confirmation using this homology-based genotyping approach. This strategy offers an alternative to isolating a full length of miRNA genes and their up-stream and down-stream sequences. The significance of the expression and sequence differences of miRNAs between cotton species or genotypes needs further studies.

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