Paulownia witches’ broom (PaWB), caused by phytoplasma, is an important disease of Paulownia. To further identify the key miRNAs associated with the formation of PaWB symptoms, a team of scientists recently used miRNA and degradome sequencing to explore important miRNAs–target regulation in healthy and diseased Paulownia tomentosa, Paulownia fortunei, and P. tomentosa × P. fortunei seedlings, and the corresponding diseased seedlings treated with 75 mg L−1 dimethyl sulfate.

A total of 212, 111, and 197 differentially expressed miRNAs (DEMs) were obtained in P. tomentosa, P. fortunei, and P. tomentosa × P. fortunei, respectively. Degradome sequencing detected 559, 251, and 568 target genes of the DEMs in P. tomentosa, P. fortunei, and P. tomentosa × P. fortunei, respectively. The expression patterns of selected miRNAs and the target genes were verified be qRT-PCR. Through analysis of the expression level of the DEMs in this study, combined with the results in their previous studies, as well as with those reported in other phytoplasma-infected plants, researchers concluded that miR156 is an important miRNA related to witches’ broom. According to the functions of the target genes of DEMs, we constructed a co-regulatory network of the DEMs-target genes interaction.

These results help advance our understanding of the mechanism of PaWB.

LC Sciences

  qPCR analysis of the expression level of the miRNAs.


X Cao, X Zhai, Y Zhang, Z Cheng, X Li, G Fan (2018) Comparative Analysis of MicroRNA Expression in Three Paulownia Species with Phytoplasma Infection Forests. doi: 10.3390/f9060302 [article]

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