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Integration of mRNA and miRNA Analysis Reveals the Molecular Mechanism Underlying Salt and Alkali Stress Tolerance in Tobacco

National Tobacco Cultivation and Physiology and Biochemistry Research Center, College of Tobacco Science, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou 450002, China
Zhengzhou Tobacco Research Institute, Zhengzhou 450001, China
College of Resources and Environment, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(10), 2391;
Received: 9 April 2019 / Revised: 7 May 2019 / Accepted: 9 May 2019 / Published: 14 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
PDF [2858 KB, uploaded 14 May 2019]


Salinity is one of the most severe forms of abiotic stress and affects crop yields worldwide. Plants respond to salinity stress via a sophisticated mechanism at the physiological, transcriptional and metabolic levels. However, the molecular regulatory networks involved in salt and alkali tolerance have not yet been elucidated. We developed an RNA-seq technique to perform mRNA and small RNA (sRNA) sequencing of plants under salt (NaCl) and alkali (NaHCO3) stress in tobacco. Overall, 8064 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and 33 differentially expressed microRNAs (DE miRNAs) were identified in response to salt and alkali stress. A total of 1578 overlapping DEGs, which exhibit the same expression patterns and are involved in ion channel, aquaporin (AQP) and antioxidant activities, were identified. Furthermore, genes involved in several biological processes, such as “photosynthesis” and “starch and sucrose metabolism,” were specifically enriched under NaHCO3 treatment. We also identified 15 and 22 miRNAs that were differentially expressed in response to NaCl and NaHCO3, respectively. Analysis of inverse correlations between miRNAs and target mRNAs revealed 26 mRNA-miRNA interactions under NaCl treatment and 139 mRNA-miRNA interactions under NaHCO3 treatment. This study provides new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying the response of tobacco to salinity stress. View Full-Text
Keywords: salt; alkali; transcriptome; miRNA; tobacco salt; alkali; transcriptome; miRNA; tobacco

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Xu, J.; Chen, Q.; Liu, P.; Jia, W.; Chen, Z.; Xu, Z. Integration of mRNA and miRNA Analysis Reveals the Molecular Mechanism Underlying Salt and Alkali Stress Tolerance in Tobacco. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 2391.

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