MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous non-coding small RNAs that play essential regulatory roles in plant development and environmental stress responses. Maize (Zea mays L.) is a global economically important food and forage crop. To date, a number of maize miRNAs have been identified as being involved in plant development and stress responses. However, the miRNA-mediated gene regulatory networks responsive to virus infections in maize remain largely unknown.

In a recent study, the profiles of small RNAs in buffer- and Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV)-inoculated maize plants were obtained using high throughput degradome sequencing. A total of 154 known miRNAs and 213 novel miRNAs were profiled and most of the miRNAs identified were differentially expressed after SCMV infection. In addition, 70 targets of 13 known miRNAs and 3 targets of a novel miRNA were identified by degradome analysis. The results of Northern blotting and quantitative real-time PCR showed that the expression levels of the selected miRNAs and their targets were mostly influenced by SCMV infection at 12 days post inoculation, including up-regulation of miR168 and miR528, and down-regulation of miR159, miR397 and miR827.

These results provide new insights into the regulatory networks of miRNAs and their targets in maize plants responsive to SCMV infection.


Z. Xia, Z. Zhao, Y. Wu, T. Zhou, W. Yu, Z. Fan et al. (2018) Identification of miRNAs and their targets in maize in response to Sugarcane mosaic virus infection Plant Physiology and Biochemistry doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2018.01.031 [abstract]

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