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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


MicroRNA319 (miR319) has been implicated in leaf development in a number of plant species. Here we study the roles of miR319a and its regulated network in leaf development in poplars. Over-expression of miR319a in Populus alba × Populus glandulosa caused dwarf statures, narrow leaf blades and serrated leaf margins. The vascular bundles and bundle sheaths in transgenic leaves had more layers of cells than those in the leaves of control plants, indicating enhanced lignification in these cells. Among the 93 putative targets of miR319a predicted with the psRNATarget tool, only three genes, TCP (TEOSINTE BRANCHED1, CYCLOIDEA, and PROLIFERATING CELL NUCLEAR ANTIGEN BINDING FACTOR), were differentially expressed in the leaves of MIR319a-over-expression transgenic lines. With the RNA-seq data sets from multiple MIR319a over-expression transgenic lines, we built a three-layered gene regulatory network mediated by miR319a using Top-down graphic Gaussian model (GGM) algorithm that is capable of capturing causal relationships from transcriptomic data. The results support that miR319a primarily regulates the lignin biosynthesis, leaf development and differentiation as well as photosynthesis via miR319-MEE35/TCP4, miR319-TCP2 and miR319-TCP2-1 regulatory modules.

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Copyright: © 2021 by the author(s). Exclusive Licensee Maximum Academic Press, Fayetteville, GA. This article is an open access article distributed under Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), visit https:// Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title

Forestry Research

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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