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Plants 2018, 7(3), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants7030068

Genome-Wide Investigation of the Role of MicroRNAs in Desiccation Tolerance in the Resurrection Grass Tripogon loliiformis

1
Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD 4000, Australia
2
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
3
Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 24 August 2018 / Accepted: 29 August 2018 / Published: 31 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of MicroRNAs in Plants)
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Abstract

Drought causes approximately two-thirds of crop and yield loss worldwide. To sustain future generations, there is a need to develop robust crops with enhanced water use efficiency. Resurrection plants are naturally resilient and tolerate up to 95% water loss with the ability to revive upon watering. Stress is genetically encoded and resilient species may garner tolerance by tightly regulating the expression of stress-related genes. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) post-transcriptionally regulate development and other stress response processes in eukaryotes. However, their role in resurrection plant desiccation tolerance is poorly understood. In this study, small RNA sequencing and miRNA expression profiling was conducted using Tripogon loliiformis plants subjected to extreme water deficit conditions. Differentially expressed miRNA profiles, target mRNAs, and their regulatory processes were elucidated. Gene ontology enrichment analysis revealed that development, stress response, and regulation of programmed cell death biological processes; Oxidoreductase and hydrolyase molecular activities; and SPL, MYB, and WRKY transcription factors were targeted by miRNAs during dehydration stress, indicating the indispensable regulatory role of miRNAs in desiccation tolerance. This study provides insights into the molecular mechanisms of desiccation tolerance in the resurrection plant T. loliiformis. This information will be useful in devising strategies for crop improvement on enhanced drought tolerance and water use efficiency. View Full-Text
Keywords: microRNAs; dehydration; desiccation; resurrection plants; Tripogon loliiformis; post-transcriptional gene silencing; miRNAs microRNAs; dehydration; desiccation; resurrection plants; Tripogon loliiformis; post-transcriptional gene silencing; miRNAs
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Njaci, I.; Williams, B.; Castillo-González, C.; Dickman, M.B.; Zhang, X.; Mundree, S. Genome-Wide Investigation of the Role of MicroRNAs in Desiccation Tolerance in the Resurrection Grass Tripogon loliiformis. Plants 2018, 7, 68.

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