PLANTA, vol.240, no.6, pp.1287-1298, 2014 (SCI-Expanded)
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding class of RNAs. They were identified in many plants with their diverse regulatory roles in several cellular and metabolic processes. A number of miRNAs were involved in biotic and abiotic stress responses. Here, fungal stress responsive wheat miRNAs were analyzed by using miRNA-microarray strategy. Two different fungi (Fusarium culmorum and Bipolaris sorokiniana) were inoculated on resistant and sensitive wheat cultivars. A total of 87 differentially regulated miRNAs were detected in the 8 x 15 K array including all of the available plant miRNAs. Using bioinformatics tools, the target transcripts of responsive miRNAs were predicted, and related biological processes and mechanisms were assessed. A number of the miRNAs such as miR2592s, miR869.1, miR169b were highly differentially regulated showing more than 200-fold change upon fungal-inoculation. Some of the miRNAs were identified as fungal-inoculation responsive for the first time. The analyses showed that some of the differentially regulated miRNAs targeted resistance-related genes such as LRR, glucuronosyl transferase, peroxidase and Pto kinase. The comparison of the two miRNA-microarray analyses indicated that fungal-responsive wheat miRNAs were differentially regulated in pathogen- and cultivar-specific manners.