Tillering and spike differentiation are two key events for wheat (Triticum aestivum
L.). A study on the transcriptomes and microRNA group profiles of wheat at the two key developmental stages will bring insight into the molecular regulation mechanisms. Guomai 301 is a representative excellent new high yield wheat cultivar in the Henan province in China. The transcriptomes and microRNA (miRNA) groups of tiller primordia (TPs), stem tips (STs), and young spikes (YSs) in Guomai 301 were compared to each other. A total of 1741 tillering specifically expressed and 281 early spikes differentiating specifically expressed differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified. Six major expression profile clusters of tissue-specific DEGs for the three tissues were classified by gene co-expression analysis using K
-means cluster. The ribosome (ko03010), photosynthesis-antenna proteins (ko00196), and plant hormone signal transduction (ko04075) were the main metabolic pathways in TPs, STs, and YSs, respectively. Similarly, 67 TP specifically expressed and 19 YS specifically expressed differentially expressed miRNAs were identified, 65 of them were novel. The roles of 3 well known miRNAs, tae-miR156, tae-miR164, and tae-miR167a, in post-transcriptional regulation were similar to that of other researches. There were 651 significant negative miRNA–mRNA interaction pairs in TPs and YSs, involving 63 differentially expressed miRNAs (fold change > 4) and 416 differentially expressed mRNAs. Among them 12 key known miRNAs and 16 novel miRNAs were further analyzed, and miRNA–mRNA regulatory networks during tillering and early spike differentiating were established.
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