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MicroRNA-target gene responses to root knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) infection in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)

Pan, Xiaoping, Nichols, Robert L., Li, Chao, Zhang, Baohong
Genomics 2019 v.111 no.3 pp. 383-390
Gossypium hirsutum, Meloidogyne incognita, cotton, gene expression regulation, genes, microRNA, plant diseases and disorders, root-knot nematodes, roots
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a large class of small regulatory RNA molecules, however no study has been performed to elucidate the role of miRNAs in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) response to the root knot nematode (RKN, Meloidogyne incognita) infection. We selected 28 miRNAs and 8 miRNA target genes to investigate the miRNA-target gene response to M. incognita infection. Our results show that RKN infection significantly affected the expression of several miRNAs and their targeted genes. After 10 days of RKN infection, expression fold changes on miRNA expressions ranged from down-regulated by 33% to upregulated by 406%; meanwhile the expression levels of miRNA target genes were 45.8% to 231%. Three miRNA-target pairs, miR159-MYB, miR319-TCP4 and miR167-ARF8, showed inverse expression patterns between gene targets and their corresponded miRNAs, suggesting miRNA-mediated gene regulation in cotton roots in response to RKN infection.