Identification and characterization of ncRNA-associated ceRNA networks in Arabidopsis leaf development
Leaf development is a complex biological process that is accompanied by wide transcriptional changes. Many protein-coding genes have been characterized in plant leaves, but little attention has been given to noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs). Moreover, increasing evidence indicates that an intricate interplay among RNA species, including protein-coding RNAs and ncRNAs, exists in eukaryotic transcriptomes, however, it remains elusive in plant leaves.
We detected novel ncRNAs, such as circular RNAs (circRNAs) and long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), and further constructed and analyzed their associated competitive endogenous RNA (ceRNA) networks in Arabidopsis leaves. Transcriptome profiling showed extensive changes during leaf development. In addition, comprehensive detection of circRNAs in other plant leaves suggested that circRNAs are widespread in plant leaves. To investigate the complex post-transcriptional interactions in Arabidopsis leaves, we constructed a global circRNA/lncRNA-associated ceRNA network. Functional analysis revealed that ceRNAs were highly correlated with leaf development. These ceRNAs could be divided into six clusters, which were enriched for different functional classes. Stage-specific ceRNA networks were further constructed and comparative analysis revealed different roles of stage common and specific hub ceRNAs.
Our results demonstrate that understanding the ceRNA interactions will lead insights into gene regulations implicated in leaf development.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12864-018-4993-2
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