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Ma J.,East Carolina University | Ma J.,Heze Academy of Agricultural science | Ma J.,Henan Institute of Science and Technology | Ma J.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | And 20 more authors.
Journal of Zhejiang University: Science B | Year: 2015

miRNAs are a class of conserved, small, endogenous, and non-protein-coding RNA molecules with 20–24 nucleotides (nt) in length that function as post-transcriptional modulators of gene expression in eukaryotic cells. Functional studies have demonstrated that plant miRNAs are involved in the regulation of a wide range of plant developmental processes. To date, however, no research has been carried out to study the expression profiles of miRNAs in Gossypium raimondii, a model cotton species. We selected 16 miRNAs to profile their tissue-specific expression patterns in G. raimondii four different tissues, and these miRNAs are reported to play important roles in plant growth and development. Our results showed that the expression levels of these miRNAs varied significantly from one to another in a tissue-dependent manner. Eight miRNAs, including miR-159, miR-162, miR-164, miR-172, miR-390, miR-395, miR-397, and miR-398, exhibited exclusively high expression levels in flower buds, suggesting that these miRNAs may play significant roles in floral development. The expression level of miR-164 was relatively high in shoots beside flower buds, implying that the function of miR-164 is not only limited to floral development but it may also play an important role in shoot development. Certain miRNAs such as miR-166 and miR-160 were extremely highly expressed in all of the four tissues tested compared with other miRNAs investigated, suggesting that they may play regulatory roles at multiple development stages. This study will contribute to future studies on the functional characterization of miRNAs in cotton. © 2015, Zhejiang University and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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