High-throughput sequencing revealed that microRNAs were involved in the development of superior and inferior grains in bread wheat

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© 2018, The Author(s). High-throughput sequencing was employed to investigate the expression of miRNAs and their target genes in superior and inferior seeds of Aikang 58. Small RNA sequencing revealed 620 conserved and 64 novel miRNAs in superior grains, and 623 conserved and 66 novel miRNAs in inferior grains. Among these, 97 known miRNAs, and eight novel miRNAs showed differential expression between the superior and inferior seeds. Degradome sequencing revealed at least 140 candidate target genes associated with 35 miRNA families during the development of superior and inferior seeds. GO and KEGG pathway analysis showed that the differentially expressed miRNAs, both conserved and novel, were likely involved in hormone production, carbohydrate metabolic pathways, and cell division. We validated eight known and four novel grain development-related miRNAs and their target genes by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction to ensure the reliability of small RNA and degradome-seq results. Of these, miR160 and miR165/166 were knocked down in Arabidopsis using short-tandem target mimic (STTM160 and STTM165/166) technology, which confirmed their roles in seed development. Specifically, STTM160 showed significantly smaller grain size, lower grain weight, shorter siliques length, shorter plant height, and more serrated leaves, whereas STTM165/166 showed decreased seed number, disabled siliques, and curled upward leaves.

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Scientific Reports