Identification of Cold-Responsive miRNAs and Their Target Genes in Nitrogen-Fixing Nodules of Soybean

Int J Mol Sci. 2014 Aug 5;15(8):13596-614. doi: 10.3390/ijms150813596.


As a warm climate species, soybean is highly sensitive to chilling temperatures. Exposure to chilling temperatures causes a significant reduction in the nitrogen fixation rate in soybean plants and subsequent yield loss. However, the molecular basis for the sensitivity of soybean to chilling is poorly understood. In this study, we identified cold-responsive miRNAs in nitrogen-fixing nodules of soybean. Upon chilling, the expression of gma-miR397a, gma-miR166u and gma-miR171p was greatly upregulated, whereas the expression of gma-miR169c, gma-miR159b, gma-miR319a/b and gma-miR5559 was significantly decreased. The target genes of these miRNAs were predicted and validated using 5' complementary DNA ends (5'-RACE) experiments, and qPCR analysis identified putative genes targeted by the cold-responsive miRNAs in response to chilling temperatures. Taken together, our results reveal that miRNAs may be involved in the protective mechanism against chilling injury in mature nodules of soybean.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cold Temperature*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Nitrogen / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Root Nodules, Plant / metabolism*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Soybeans / metabolism*


  • MicroRNAs
  • Nitrogen