MicroRNAs control plant development and are key regulators of plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. Thus, their expression must be carefully controlled since both excess and deficiency of a given microRNA may be deleterious to plant cell. MicroRNA expression regulation can occur at several stages of their biogenesis pathway. One of the most important of these regulatory checkpoints is transcription efficiency. mirEX database is a tool for exploration and visualization of plant pri-miRNA expression profiles. It includes results obtained using high-throughput RT-qPCR platform designed to monitor pri-miRNA expression in different miRNA biogenesis mutants and developmental stages of Arabidopsis, barley, and Pellia plants. A step-by-step instruction for browsing the database and detailed protocol for high-throughput RT-qPCR experiments, including list of primers designed for the amplification of pri-miRNAs, are presented.
Keywords: Gene expression; RT-qPCR; microRNA; mirEX database; pri-microRNA.