Long dormancy period of seeds limits the large-scale artificial cultivation of the scarce Paris polyphylla var. yunnanensis, an important traditional Chinese medicine. Characterizing miRNAs and their targets is crucial to understanding the role of miRNAs during seed dormancy in this species. Considering the limited genome information of this species, we first sequenced and assembled the transcriptome data of dormant seeds and their seed coats as the reference genome. A total of 146,671 unigenes with an average length of 923 bp were identified and showed functional diversity based on different annotation methods. Two small RNA libraries from respective seeds and seed coats were sequenced and the combining data indicates that 263 conserved miRNAs belonging to at least 83 families and 768 novel miRNAs in 1174 transcripts were found. The annotations of the predicted putative targets of miRNAs suggest that these miRNAs were mainly involved in the cell, metabolism and genetic information processing by direct and indirect regulation patterns in dormant seeds of P. polyphylla var. yunnanensis. Therefore, we provide the first known miRNA profiles and their targets, which will assist with further study of the molecular mechanism of seed dormancy in P. polyphylla var. yunnanensis.
Keywords: Paris polyphylla var. yunnanensis; high-throughput sequencing technology; miRNAs; seed dormancy.