© 2016 Bakhshi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Background: Drought stress is one of the most important abiotic stresses and the main constraint to rice agriculture. MicroRNA-mediated post-transcriptional gene regulation is one of the ways to establish drought stress tolerance in plants. MiRNAs are 20-24-nt regulatory RNAs that play an important role in regulating plant gene expression upon exposure to biotic and abiotic stresses. Methodology/Principal Findings: In this study, we applied a partial root drying system as well as a complete root drying system to identify miRNAs involved in conditions of drought stress, drought signaling and wet signaling using high-throughput sequencing. To this end, we produced four small RNA libraries: (1) fully-watered (WW), (2) fully-droughted (WD), and split-root systems where (3) one-half was well watered (SpWW) and (4) the other half was water-deprived (SpWD). Our analysis revealed 10,671 and 783 unique known and novel miRNA reads in all libraries, respectively. We identified, 65 (52 known + 13 novel), 72 (61 known + 11 novel) and 51 (38 known + 13 novel) miRNAs that showed differential expression under conditions of drought stress, drought signaling and wet signaling, respectively. The results of quantitative real-time PCR showed expression patterns similar to the high-throughput sequencing results. Furthermore, our target prediction led to the identification of 244, 341 and 239 unique target genes for drought-stress-, drought-signaling- and wet-signaling-responsive miRNAs, respectively. Conclusions/Significance: Our results suggest that miRNAs that are responsive under different conditions could play different roles in the regulation of abscisic acid signaling, calcium signaling, detoxification and lateral root formation.
Bakhshi, B., Mohseni Fard, E., Nikpay, N., Ebrahimi, M. A., Bihamta, M. R., Mardi, M., & Salekdeh, G. H. (2016). MicroRNA signatures of drought signaling in rice root. PLoS ONE, 11(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0156814