Identification of microRNAs and relative target genes in Moringa oleifera leaf and callus

Sci Rep. 2019 Oct 22;9(1):15145. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-51100-4.


MicroRNAs, a class of small, non-coding RNAs, play important roles in plant growth, development and stress response by negatively regulating gene expression. Moringa oleifera Lam. plant has many medical and nutritional uses; however, little attention has been dedicated to its potential for the bio production of active compounds. In this study, 431 conserved and 392 novel microRNA families were identified and 9 novel small RNA libraries constructed from leaf, and cold stress treated callus, using high-throughput sequencing technology. Based on the M. oleifera genome, the microRNA repertoire of the seed was re-evaluated. qRT-PCR analysis confirmed the expression pattern of 11 conserved microRNAs in all groups. MicroRNA159 was found to be the most abundant conserved microRNA in leaf and callus, while microRNA393 was most abundantly expressed in the seed. The majority of predicted microRNA target genes were transcriptional factors involved in plant reproduction, growth/development and abiotic/biotic stress response. In conclusion, this is the first comprehensive analysis of microRNAs in M. oleifera leaf and callus which represents an important addition to the existing M. oleifera seed microRNA database and allows for possible exploitation of plant microRNAs induced with abiotic stress, as a tool for bio-enrichment with pharmacologically important phytochemicals.

MeSH terms

  • Cold Temperature
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Gene Ontology
  • Genes, Plant*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Moringa oleifera / genetics*
  • Plant Leaves / genetics*
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / metabolism
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Plant