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Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.00589

Integration of the pokeweed miRNA and mRNA transcriptomes reveals targeting of jasmonic acid-responsive genes

Kira C. Neller1,  Alexander Klenov1, Juan C. Guzman2 and  Katalin A. Hudak1*
  • 1Biology, York University, Canada
  • 2Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, York University, Canada

The American pokeweed plant, Phytolacca americana, displays broad-spectrum resistance to plant viruses and is a heavy metal hyperaccumulator. However, little is known about the regulation of biotic and abiotic stress responses in this non-model plant. To investigate the control of miRNAs in gene expression, we sequenced the small RNA transcriptome of pokeweed treated with jasmonic acid (JA), a hormone that mediates pathogen defense and stress tolerance. We predicted 145 miRNAs responsive to JA, most of which were unique to pokeweed. These miRNAs were low in abundance and condition-specific, with discrete expression change. Integration of paired mRNA-Seq expression data enabled us to identify correlated, novel JA-responsive targets that mediate hormone biosynthesis, signal transduction, and pathogen defense. The expression of approximately half the pairs was positively correlated, an uncommon finding that we functionally validated by mRNA cleavage. Importantly, we report that a pokeweed specific miRNA targets the transcript of OPR3, novel evidence that a miRNA regulates a JA biosynthesis enzyme. This first large-scale small RNA study of a Phytolaccaceae family member shows that miRNA-mediated control is a significant component of the JA response, associated with widespread changes in expression of genes required for stress adaptation.

Keywords: Jasmonic acid, miRNA, Phytolacca americana, Pokeweed, small RNA, Transcriptome

Received: 03 Jan 2018; Accepted: 16 Apr 2018.

Edited by:

Juan Caballero, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Mexico

Reviewed by:

Andrea Chini, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Spain
Marcos Egea-Cortines, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Spain  

Copyright: © 2018 Neller, Klenov, Guzman and Hudak. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Katalin A. Hudak, York University, Biology, Toronto, M3J 1P3, Ontario, Canada, hudak@yorku.ca