Comprehensive, integrative genomic analysis of microRNA expression profiles in different tissues of two wheat cultivars with different traits

Cristina Gómez-Martín, Hui Zhou, José Maria Medina, Ernesto Aparicio-Puerta, Michael Hackenberg, Bujun Shi

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Wheat is one of the most important food sources on Earth. MicroRNAs (miRNA) play important roles in wheat productivity. To identify wheat miRNAs, we constructed and sequenced sRNA libraries from leaves and roots of two wheat cultivars (RAC875 and Kukri) with many different traits. Given that available miRNA wheat complement in the plant-specific database PmiREN ( does not include root tissues and root-associated miRNAs might thus be missing, we performed first the prediction of novel miRNAs using the sRNAbench tool. We found a total of 150 putatively novel miRNA genes with expression of both arms from 289 unique mature sequences and nearly 30% of all miRNA reads in roots corresponded to novel miRNAs. In contrast, this figure in leaves dropped to under 3%, confirming the undersampling of roots in the complement of known miRNAs. By using 120 publicly available wheat datasets, 598 Zea mays small RNA libraries, 64 plant species genomes, wheat degradome library, and functional enrichment analysis, a subset of novel miRNAs were confirmed as bona-fide miRNAs. Of the total 605 miRNAs identified in this study inclusive of 316 known miRNAs, 528 miRNAs were shared by both cultivars, 429 miRNAs were shared by both root tissues and 329 miRNAs were shared by both leaf tissues. In addition, 32 miRNAs were specific to Kukri while 45 miRNAs were specific to RAC875. These miRNAs had diverse functions, such as regulation of gene transcription, protein translation, energy metabolism, and cell cycle progression. Our data provide a genome-wide miRNA expression profile in these two wheat cultivars and help functional studies of wheat genomics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15
JournalFunctional and Integrative Genomics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • Cleavage products
  • Genome conservation
  • Novel miRNAs
  • Tissue-specific
  • Wheat
  • miRNA function

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