Identification and expression analysis of miRNAs from nitrogen-fixing soybean nodules

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Jan 23;378(4):799-803. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.11.140. Epub 2008 Dec 11.


miRNAs are approximately 21nt non-coding RNAs and play important roles in plant development and response to stress. Symbiotic nitrogen fixation (SNF) is agronomically important for reducing the need of nitrogen fertilizers. The soybean root nodule is the place where SNF takes place. To identify miRNAs that are possibly involved in nitrogen fixation in soybean functional nitrogen-fixing nodules, a small library of RNAs was constructed from the functional nodules harvested 28 days after inoculation with rhizobium. Thirty-two small RNA sequences were identified as belonging to 11 miRNA families. Eight miRNAs are conserved across plant species, twenty are specific to soybean, and the four remaining miRNAs are novel. Expression analysis revealed that miRNAs were differentially expressed in the different tissues. Combinatorial miRNA target prediction identified genes that are involved in multiple biological processes. The results suggest that miRNAs play critical and diverse roles in SNF, nutrient acquisition, and plant development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Glycine max / genetics
  • Glycine max / metabolism*
  • MicroRNAs / biosynthesis*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / isolation & purification
  • Nitrogen Fixation* / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / isolation & purification
  • Root Nodules, Plant / genetics
  • Root Nodules, Plant / metabolism*


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Plant