A comprehensive expression profile of microRNAs and other classes of non-coding small RNAs in barley under phosphorous-deficient and -sufficient conditions.

Research paper by Michael M Hackenberg, Po-Jung PJ Huang, Chun-Yuan CY Huang, Bu-Jun BJ Shi, Perry P Gustafson, Peter P Langridge

Indexed on: 26 Dec '12Published on: 26 Dec '12Published in: DNA research : an international journal for rapid publication of reports on genes and genomes


Phosphorus (P) is essential for plant growth. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play a key role in phosphate homeostasis. However, little is known about P effect on miRNA expression in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). In this study, we used Illumina's next-generation sequencing technology to sequence small RNAs (sRNAs) in barley grown under P-deficient and P-sufficient conditions. We identified 221 conserved miRNAs and 12 novel miRNAs, of which 55 were only present in P-deficient treatment while 32 only existed in P-sufficient treatment. Total 47 miRNAs were significantly differentially expressed between the two P treatments (|log2| > 1). We also identified many other classes of sRNAs, including sense and antisense sRNAs, repeat-associated sRNAs, transfer RNA (tRNA)-derived sRNAs and chloroplast-derived sRNAs, and some of which were also significantly differentially expressed between the two P treatments. Of all the sRNAs identified, antisense sRNAs were the most abundant sRNA class in both P treatments. Surprisingly, about one-fourth of sRNAs were derived from the chloroplast genome, and a chloroplast-encoded tRNA-derived sRNA was the most abundant sRNA of all the sRNAs sequenced. Our data provide valuable clues for understanding the properties of sRNAs and new insights into the potential roles of miRNAs and other classes of sRNAs in the control of phosphate homeostasis.