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Title: Genome-Wide Analysis of miRNA targets in Brachypodium and Biomass Energy Crops

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) contribute to the control of numerous biological processes through the regulation of specific target mRNAs. Although the identities of these targets are essential to elucidate miRNA function, the targets are much more difficult to identify than the small RNAs themselves. Before this work, we pioneered the genome-wide identification of the targets of Arabidopsis miRNAs using an approach called PARE (German et al., Nature Biotech. 2008; Nature Protocols, 2009). Under this project, we applied PARE to Brachypodium distachyon (Brachypodium), a model plant in the Poaceae family, which includes the major food grain and bioenergy crops. Through in-depth global analysis and examination of specific examples, this research greatly expanded our knowledge of miRNAs and target RNAs of Brachypodium. New regulation in response to environmental stress or tissue type was found, and many new miRNAs were discovered. More than 260 targets of new and known miRNAs with PARE sequences at the precise sites of miRNA-guided cleavage were identified and characterized. Combining PARE data with the small RNA data also identified the miRNAs responsible for initiating approximately 500 phased loci, including one of the novel miRNAs. PARE analysis also revealed that differentially expressed miRNAs in the same family guide specific target RNAmore » cleavage in a correspondingly tissue-preferential manner. The project included generation of small RNA and PARE resources for bioenergy crops, to facilitate ongoing discovery of conserved miRNA-target RNA regulation. By associating specific miRNA-target RNA pairs with known physiological functions, the research provides insights about gene regulation in different tissues and in response to environmental stress. This, and release of new PARE and small RNA data sets should contribute basic knowledge to enhance breeding and may suggest new strategies for improvement of biomass energy crops.« less
  1. Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE (United States)
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States