Fang Tan, Yan Jing, Zhaoxu Liang, Lunwang Wang, Hongwei Tan, Song Li, Xia Ning, Yuan Zeng, Weikuan Fang, Shanshan He, Guanyu Wang, Kaichao Wu, Ming Li
Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) is an economically important crop, mainly due to the production of sugar and biofuel (Azevedo RA, Carvalho RF, Cia MC, & Gratão PL, Trop Plant Biol 4:42-51, 2011). Grown mainly in tropical and subtropical countries, sugarcane is a highly polyploid plant with up to ten copies of each chromosome, which increases the difficulties of genome assembly and genetic, physiologic and biochemical analyses. The increasing demands of sugar and the increasing cost of sugarcane harvest require sugarcane varieties which can shed their leaves during the maturity time, so it is important to study the mechanism of leaf abscission in sugarcane. To improve the understanding of miRNA roles in sugarcane leaf abscission, we reported the genome-wide characterization of miRNAs and their putative targets in sugarcane using deep sequencing for six small RNA libraries. In total, 93 conserved miRNAs and 454 novel miRNAs were identified in sugarcane using previously reported transcriptome as reference. Among them, 25 up-regulated and 13 down-regulated miRNAs were identified in leaf abscission sugarcane plants (LASP) compared to leaf packaging sugarcane plants (LPSP). Target prediction revealed several miRNA-mRNA modules including miR156-SPL, miR319-TPR2, miR396-GRF and miR408-LAC3 might be involved in the sugarcane leaf abscission. KEGG pathway enrichment analysis showed differentially expressed miRNAs may regulate pathways like “plant hormone signal transduction” and “plant-pathogen interaction”, which is consistent with previous transcriptome study. In addition, we identified 96 variant miRNAs with 135 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The expression of sugarcane miRNAs and variant miRNAs were confirmed by qRT-PCR. We identified a possible poaceae specific miRNA called miR5384 for the first time in sugarcane. We not only reported miR5384, a possible poaceae specific miRNA, for the first time in sugarcane but also presented some miRNA-mRNA modules including miR156-SPL, miR319-TPR2, miR396-GRF and miR408-LAC in sugarcane. These modules might be involved in the regulation of sugarcane leaf abscission during the maturity time. All of these findings may lay ground work for future application of sugarcane breeding program and benefit research studies of sugarcane miRNAs.