FZB42 is able to activate induced systemic resistance (ISR) to enhance plant defense response against pathogen infections. Though the roles of microRNAs (miRNAs) in Bacillus
-triggered ISR have been reported in Arabidopsis
, the maize miRNAs responsible for the Bacillus
-activated ISR process have not been discovered. To explore the maize miRNAs involved in ISR, maize miRNAs in response to FZB42 (ISR activating), FZB42△sfp
(deficient in triggering ISR), and a control for 12 h were sequenced. A total of 146 known miRNAs belonging to 30 miRNA families and 217 novel miRNAs were identified. Four miRNAs specifically repressed in FZB42-treatment were selected as candidate ISR-associated miRNAs. All of them contained at least one defense response-related cis-element, suggesting their potential roles in activating the ISR process. Interestingly, three of the four candidate ISR-associated miRNAs belong to the conserved miR169 family, which has previously been confirmed to play roles in abiotic stress response. Moreover, 52 mRNAs were predicted as potential targets of these candidate ISR-associated miRNAs through TargetFinder software and degradome sequencing. Gene Ontology (GO) and network analyses of target genes showed that these differentially expressed miRNA might participate in the ISR process by regulating nuclear factor Y transcription factor. This study is helpful in better understanding the regulatory roles of maize miRNAs in the Bacillus
-activated ISR process.
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