microRNA profiling of root tissues and root forming explant cultures in Medicago truncatula

Planta. 2013 Jul;238(1):91-105. doi: 10.1007/s00425-013-1871-7. Epub 2013 Apr 10.


Plant root architecture is regulated by the initiation and modulation of cell division in regions containing pluripotent stem cells known as meristems. In roots, meristems are formed early in embryogenesis, in the case of the root apical meristem (RAM), and during organogenesis at the site of lateral root or, in legumes, nodule formation. Root meristems can also be generated in vitro from leaf explants cultures supplemented with auxin. microRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as regulators of many key biological functions in plants including root development. To identify key miRNAs involved in root meristem formation in Medicago truncatula, we used deep sequencing to compare miRNA populations. Comparisons were made between: (1) the root tip (RT), containing the RAM and the elongation zone (EZ) tissue and (2) root forming callus (RFC) and non-root forming callus (NRFC). We identified 83 previously reported miRNAs, 24 new to M. truncatula, in 44 families. For the first time in M. truncatula, members of conserved miRNA families miR165, miR181 and miR397 were found. Bioinformatic analysis identified 38 potential novel miRNAs. Selected miRNAs and targets were validated using Taqman miRNA assays and 5' RACE. Many miRNAs were differentially expressed between tissues, particularly RFC and NRFC. Target prediction revealed a number of miRNAs to target genes previously shown to be differentially expressed between RT and EZ or RFC and NRFC and important in root development. Additionally, we predict the miRNA/target relationships for miR397 and miR160 to be conserved in M. truncatula. Amongst the predictions, were AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR 10, targeted by miR160 and a LACCASE-like gene, targeted by miR397, both are miRNA/target pairings conserved in other species.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Medicago truncatula / genetics*
  • Medicago truncatula / growth & development
  • Meristem / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Plant Roots / genetics*
  • Plant Roots / growth & development*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tissue Culture Techniques
  • Transcriptome


  • MicroRNAs

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE45726