Identification and characterization of durum wheat microRNAs in leaf and root tissues

Veronica Fileccia, Alfonso Salvatore Frenda, Dario Giambalvo, Federico Martinelli, Paolo Ruisi, Edoardo Bertolini, Gina Cannarozzi, Cristina Crosatti, Zerihun Tadele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


MicroRNAs are a class of post-transcriptional regulators of plant developmental and physiological processes and responses to environmental stresses. Here, we present the study regarding the annotation and characterization of MIR genes conducted in durum wheat. We characterized the miRNAome of leaf and root tissues at tillering stage under two environmental conditions: irrigated with 100% (control) and 55% of evapotranspiration (early water stress). In total, 90 microRNAs were identified, of which 32 were classified as putative novel and species-specific miRNAs. In addition, seven microRNA homeologous groups were identified in each of the two genomes of the tetraploid durum wheat. Differential expression analysis highlighted a total of 45 microRNAs significantly differentially regulated in the pairwise comparisons leaf versus root. The miRNA families, miR530, miR395, miR393, miR5168, miR396 and miR166, miR171, miR319, and miR167, were the most expressed in leaves in comparison to roots. Putative microRNA targets were predicted for both five and three prime sequences derived from the stem-loop of the MIR gene. Gene ontology analysis showed significant overrepresented gene categories in microRNA targets belonging to transcription factors, phenylpropanoids, oxydases, and lipid binding-protein. This work represents one of the first genome wide characterization of MIR genes in durum wheat, identifying leaf and root tissue-specific microRNAs. This genomic identification of microRNAs together with the analysis of their expression profiles is a well-accepted starting point leading to a better comprehension of the role of MIR genes in the genus Triticum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-598
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics

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