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Small RNA changes in synthetic Brassica napus

Fu, Ying, Xiao, Meili, Yu, Huasheng, Mason, Annaliese S., Yin, Jiaming, Li, Jiana, Zhang, Dongqing, Fu, Donghui
Planta 2016 v.244 no.3 pp. 607-622
Brassica napus, allopolyploidy, chromosomes, gene expression regulation, genes, genetic variation, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, homozygosity, hybridization, microRNA, parents, response elements, transposons
MAIN CONCLUSION : Small RNAs and microRNAs were found to vary extensively in synthetic Brassica napus and subsequent generations, accompanied by the activation of transposable elements in response to hybridization and polyploidization. Resynthesizing B. napus by hybridization and chromosome doubling provides an approach to create novel polyploids and increases the usable genetic variability in oilseed rape. Although many studies have shown that small RNAs (sRNAs) act as important factor during hybridization and polyploidization in plants, much less is known on how sRNAs change in synthetic B. napus, particularly in subsequent generations after formation. We performed high-throughput sequencing of sRNAs in S₁–S₄ generations of synthetic B. napus and in the homozygous B. oleracea and B. rapa parent lines. We found that the number of small RNAs (sRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs) doubled in synthetic B. napus relative to the parents. The proportions of common sRNAs detected varied from the S₁ to S₄ generations, suggesting sRNAs are unstable in synthetic B. napus. The majority of miRNAs (67.2 %) were non-additively expressed in the synthesized Brassica allotetraploid, and 33.3 % of miRNAs were novel in the resynthesized B. napus. The percentage of miRNAs derived from transposable elements (TEs) also increased, indicating transposon activation and increased transposon-associated miRNA production in response to hybridization and polyploidization. The number of target genes for each miRNA in the synthesized Brassica allotetraploid was doubled relative to the parents, enhancing the complexity of gene expression regulation. The potential roles of miRNAs and their targets are discussed. Our data demonstrate generational changes in sRNAs and miRNAs in synthesized B. napus.