MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play key roles in plant reproduction. However, knowledge on microRNAome analysis in autotetraploid rice is rather limited. Here, high-throughput sequencing technology was employed to analyze miRNAomes during pollen development in diploid and polyploid rice. A total of 172 differentially expressed miRNAs (DEM) were detected in autotetraploid rice compared to its diploid counterpart, and 57 miRNAs were specifically expressed in autotetraploid rice. Of the 172 DEM, 115 and 61 miRNAs exhibited up- and down-regulation, respectively. Gene Ontology analysis on the targets of up-regulated DEM showed that they were enriched in transport and membrane in pre-meiotic interphase, reproduction in meiosis, and nucleotide binding in single microspore stage. osa-miR5788
were up-regulated in meiosis and their targets revealed interaction with the meiosis-related genes, suggesting that they may involve in the genes regulation associated with the chromosome behavior. Abundant 24 nt siRNAs associated with transposable elements were found in autotetraploid rice during pollen development; however, they significantly declined in diploid rice, suggesting that 24 nt siRNAs may play a role in pollen development. These findings provide a foundation for understanding the effect of polyploidy on small RNA expression patterns during pollen development that cause pollen sterility in autotetraploid rice.
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