Indexed on: 14 Jun '16Published on: 13 Jun '16Published in: New Phytologist
Plants have evolved a remarkable faculty of adaptation to deal with various and changing environmental conditions. In this context, the roots have taken over nutritional aspects and the root system architecture can be modulated in response to nutrient availability or biotic interactions with soil microorganisms. This adaptability requires a fine tuning of gene expression. Indeed, root specification and development are highly complex processes requiring gene regulatory networks involved in hormonal regulations and cell identity. Among the different molecular partners governing root development, microRNAs (miRNAs) are key players for the fast regulation of gene expression. miRNAs are small RNAs involved in most developmental processes and are required for the normal growth of organisms, by the negative regulation of key genes, such as transcription factors and hormone receptors. Here, we review the known roles of miRNAs in root specification and development, from the embryonic roots to the establishment of root symbioses, highlighting the major roles of miRNAs in these processes.