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miR172 Regulates both Vegetative and Reproductive Development in the Perennial Woody Plant Jatropha curcas

First Author: Tang MY

Jatropha curcas is a promising feedstock for biofuel production because its oil is highly suitable for processing bio-jet fuels and biodiesel. However, Jatropha exhibits a long juvenile stage in subtropical areas. miR172, a conserved small non-protein-coding RNA molecule with 21 nucleotides, regulates a wide range of developmental processes. To date, however, no studies have examined the function of miR172 in Jatropha. There are five miR172 precursors encoding two mature miR172s in Jatropha, which are expressed in all tissues, with the highest expression level in leaves, and the levels are up-regulated with age. Overexpression of JcmiR172a resulted in early flowering, abnormal flowers, and altered leaf morphology in transgenic Arabidopsis and Jatropha. The expression levels of miR172 target genes were down-regulated, and the flower identity genes were up-regulated in the JcmiR172a-overexpressing transgenic plants. Interestingly, we showed that JcmiR172 might be involved in regulation of stem vascular development through manipulating the expression of cellulose and lignin biosynthesis genes. Overexpression of JcmiR172a enhanced xylem development and reduced phloem and pith development. This study helped elucidate the functions of miR172 in perennial plants, a known age-related miRNA involved in the regulation of perennial plant phase change and organ development.

Contact the author: Xu ZF
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PubYear: Aug 2018
Volume: online
Publication Name: Plant and Cell Physiology
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