Genome-Wide Identification and Comparative Analysis of Conserved and Novel MicroRNAs in Grafted Watermelon by High-Throughput Sequencing

Liu, Na; Yang, Jinghua; Guo, Shaogui; Xu, Yong; Zhang, Mingfang
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of endogenous small non-coding RNAs involved in the post-transcriptional gene regulation and play a critical role in plant growth, development and stresses response. However less is known about miRNAs involvement in grafting behaviors, especially with the watermelon (Citrullus lanatus L.) crop, which is one of the most important agricultural crops worldwide. Grafting method is commonly used in watermelon production in attempts to improve its adaptation to abiotic and biotic stresses, in particular to the soil-borne fusarium wilt disease. In this study, Solexa sequencing has been used to discover small RNA populations and compare miRNAs on genome-wide scale in watermelon grafting system. A total of 11,458,476, 11,614,094 and 9,339,089 raw reads representing 2,957,751, 2,880,328 and 2,964,990 unique sequences were obtained from the scions of self-grafted watermelon and watermelon grafted on-to bottle gourd and squash at two true-leaf stage, respectively. 39 known miRNAs belonging to 30 miRNA families and 80 novel miRNAs were identified in our small RNA dataset. Compared with self-grafted watermelon, 20 (5 known miRNA families and 15 novel miRNAs) and 47 (17 known miRNA families and 30 novel miRNAs) miRNAs were expressed significantly different in watermelon grafted on to bottle gourd and squash, respectively. MiRNAs expressed differentially when watermelon was grafted onto different rootstocks, suggesting that miRNAs might play an important role in diverse biological and metabolic processes in watermelon and grafting may possibly by changing miRNAs expressions to regulate plant growth and development as well as adaptation to stresses. The small RNA transcriptomes obtained in this study provided insights into molecular aspects of miRNA-mediated regulation in grafted watermelon. Obviously, this result would provide a basis for further unravelling the mechanism on how miRNAs information is exchanged between scion and rootstock in grafted watermelon, and its relevance to diverse biological processes and environmental adaptation.


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