[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plant laccase (LAC) enzymes belong to the blue copper oxidase family and polymerize monolignols into lignin. Recent studies have established the involvement of microRNAs in this process; however, physiological functions and regulation of plant laccases remain poorly understood. Here, we show that a laccase gene, LAC4, regulated by a microRNA, miR397b, controls both lignin biosynthesis and seed yield in Arabidopsis. In transgenic plants, overexpression of miR397b (OXmiR397b) reduced lignin deposition. The secondary wall thickness of vessels and the fibres was reduced in the OXmiR397b line, and both syringyl and guaiacyl subunits are decreased, leading to weakening of vascular tissues. In contrast, overexpression of miR397b-resistant laccase mRNA results in an opposite phenotype. Plants overexpressing miR397b develop more than two inflorescence shoots and have an increased silique number and silique length, resulting in higher seed numbers. In addition, enlarged seeds and more seeds are formed in these miR397b overexpression plants. The study suggests that miR397-mediated development via regulating laccase genes might be a common mechanism in flowering plants and that the modulation of laccase by miR397 may be potential for engineering plant biomass production with less lignin.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: microRNAs (miRNAs), a class of small, endogenous, noncoding RNAs, are uncovered to play greatly expanded roles in a variety of plant developmental processes by gene silencing through inhibiting translation or promoting the degradation of target mRNAs. In virtue of their ability to inactivate either specific genes or entire gene families, artificial miRNAs function as dominant suppressors of gene activity when brought into a plant. Moreover, artificial target mimics are applied for the reduction of specific miRNA activity. Consequently, miRNA-based manipulations have emerged as promising new approaches for the improvement of crop plants. This action includes the development of breeding strategies and the genetic modification of agronomic traits. Herein, we describe the current miRNA-based plant engineering approaches, and their advantages and challenges are also stated.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The whole structure of higher plants is generated dynamically throughout the life cycle by the activity of stem cell niches at the apex of shoot and root. Hormone molecules and many transcription factors cooperate to balance the stem cell maintenance and differentiation. It is becoming increasingly clear that microRNA (miRNA) molecules are also participants in these processes. Here, we highlight the advances that have been made in regarding the roles of miRNAs in plant stem cell control. These advances provide a framework for our understanding of how signals are integrated to specify and position the stem cell niches in plants.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 06/2011; 409(3):363-6. · 2.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Small RNAs constitute a new and unanticipated layer of gene regulation present in the three domains of life. In plants, all organs are ultimately derived from a few pluripotent stem cells localized in specialized structures called apical meristems. The development of meristems involves a coordinated balance between undifferentiated growth and differentiation, a phenomenon requiring a tight regulation of gene expression. We used in vitro cultured embryogenic calli as a model to investigate the roles of meristem-associated small RNAs. Using high throughput sequencing, we sequenced 20 million short reads with size of 18-30 nt from rice undifferentiated and differentiated calli. We confirmed 50 known microRNA families, representing one third of annotated rice microRNAs. Using a specific computational pipeline for plant microRNA identification, we identified 24 novel microRNA families. Among them, 53 microRNA or microRNA* sequences appear to vary in expression between differentiated and undifferentiated calli, suggesting a role in meristem development. Our analysis also revealed a new class of plant small RNAs derived from 5' or 3' ends of mature tRNA analogous to the tRFs in human cancer cell. We independently verified the expression of these small RNAs from 5' end of mature tRNA using qRT-PCR.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, endogenous, noncoding RNAs that negatively modulate the expression of genes by inhibiting translation or by promoting the degradation of target mRNAs. miRNAs are now known to have greatly expanded roles in a variety of plant developmental processes, in signal transduction, and in the response to environmental stress and pathogen invasion. Because of their ability to inactivate either specific genes or entire gene families, artificial miRNAs function as dominant suppressors of gene activity when brought into a plant. Consequently, miRNA-based manipulations have emerged as promising new approaches for the improvement of crops. This includes the development of breeding strategies and the genetic modification of agronomic traits. Herein, we highlight new findings regarding the roles of miRNAs in plant traits, and describe the current miRNA-based plant engineering approaches. Finally, we consider the feasibility of modulating current approaches to address future challenges such as breeding programs to increase crop yield.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding regulatory RNAs that regulate gene expression in plants by targeting mRNAs for cleavage or translational repression. Over the past years, miRNAs have been validated to play crucial roles in plant growth and development. Recent researches have witnessed the identification of intersection between miRNAs pathways and phytohormone responses, which improves our understanding of miRNAs and hormone action in developmental control. In this review, we highlight the progress on the current known relationship of miRNAs with phytohormone signaling, and the potential roles of some specific miRNAs in hormone signaling were also discussed.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 05/2009; 384(1):1-5. · 2.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Twenty-two conserved miRNAs were chosen to investigate the expression pattern in response to phytohormone treatments, in which the effects of five classic plant hormone stresses were surveyed in Oryza sativa. The results showed that 11 miRNAs were found to be dysregulated by one or more phytohormone treatments. The target genes of these miRNAs were validated in vivo and their expression profiling were revealed. We also analyzed the promoter regions of the 22 conserved miRNAs for phytohormone-responsive elements and the existence of the elements provided further evidences supporting our results. These findings enable us to further investigate the role of miRNAs in phytohormone signaling.