Micro RNAs (miRNAs) are a class of non-coding, short RNAs having important roles in regulation of gene expression. Although plant miRNAs have been studied in detail in some model plants, less is known about these miRNAs in important fruit plants like banana. miRNAs have pivotal roles in plant growth and development, and in responses to diverse biotic and abiotic stress stimuli. Here, we have analyzed the small RNA expression profiles of two different economically significant banana cultivars by using high-throughput sequencing technology. We identified a total of 170 and 244 miRNAs in the two libraries respectively derived from cv. Grand Naine and cv. Rasthali leaves. In addition, several cultivar specific microRNAs along with their putative target transcripts were also detected in our studies. To validate our findings regarding the small RNA profiles, we also undertook overexpression of a common microRNA, MusamiRNA156 in transgenic banana plants. The transgenic plants overexpressing the stem-loop sequence derived from MusamiRNA156 gene were stunted in their growth together with peculiar changes in leaf anatomy. These results provide a foundation for further investigations into important physiological and metabolic pathways operational in banana in general and cultivar specific traits in particular.
Ghag, S. B., Shekhawat, U. K. S., & Ganapathi, T. R. (2015). Small RNA profiling of two important cultivars of banana and overexpression of miRNA156 in transgenic banana plants. PLoS ONE, 10(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0127179