Drought-responsive miRNA-mRNA regulations were identified by a combination of partial least square (PLS) regression approach and sequence-based target prediction. A drought-induced network with 13 miRNAs and 58 target mRNAs was constructed and four miRNA co-regulatory modules were revealed. Functional analysis suggested that drought-responsive miRNA targets were enriched in hormone signaling, lipid and carbohydrate metabolism and antioxidant defense. 13 candidate miRNAs and target genes were validated by RT-qPCR, hierarchial clustering and ROC analysis. Two target genes (DWARF-3 and P0651G05.2) of miRNA co-regulatory modules were further verified by RLM-5’ RACE.
Together, this integrative study of miRNA-mRNA interaction provided attractive candidates that will help elucidate the drought-response mechanisms in Oryza sativa.
Heat map of the 13 DE-miRNAs in drought-stressed and control rice leaves.