Balanced activity of microRNA166/165 and its target transcripts from the class III homeodomain-leucine zipper family regulates root growth in Arabidopsis thaliana

Plant Cell Rep. 2014 Jun;33(6):945-53. doi: 10.1007/s00299-014-1573-z. Epub 2014 Feb 7.


Overexpression of miR166/165 down-regulates target HD - ZIP IIIs and promotes root growth by enhancing cell division and meristematic activity, whereas overexpression of HD - ZIP IIIs inhibits root growth in Arabidopsis thaliana. Post-embryonic growth of higher plants is maintained by active meristems harbouring undifferentiated cells. Shoot and root apical meristems (SAM and RAM) utilize both similar and distinct signalling mechanisms for their maintenance in Arabidopsis thaliana. An important regulatory role in this context has the interaction of microRNAs with their target mRNAs, mostly encoding transcription factors. One class of microRNA166/165 (miR166/165) has been implicated in the maintenance of SAM and vascular patterning. Here, we show that miR166/165 plays an important role in root growth also by negatively regulating its target transcripts, HD-ZIP IIIs, in the RAM. While overexpression of miR166 promotes RAM activity, overexpression of its targets reduces RAM activity. These results reveal a conserved role of miR166/165 in the maintenance of SAM and RAM activity in A. thaliana.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Leucine Zippers
  • Meristem / genetics
  • Meristem / growth & development
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Mutation
  • Plant Roots / genetics
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / genetics


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • MIRN165 microRNA, Arabidopsis
  • MIRN166 microRNA, Arabidopsis
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Plant