Ma - 2015 - The Plant Journal
|Scooped by Andres Zurita|
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small RNAs that regulate the expression of target genes post-transcriptionally; they are known to play major roles in development and responses to abiotic stress. miR408 is a highly conserved miRNA in plants that responds to the availability of copper and targets genes encoding copper-containing proteins. It was recently recognized to be an important component of the HY5–SPL7 gene network that mediates a coordinated response to light and copper, illustrating its central role in the response of plants to the environment. Expression of miR408 is significantly affected by a variety of developmental and environmental conditions; however, its biological function is unknown. Involvement of miR408 in the abiotic stress response was investigated in Arabidopsis. Expression of miR408, as well as its target genes, was investigated in response to salinity, cold, oxidative stress, drought and osmotic stress. Analyses of transgenic plants with modulated miR408expression revealed that higher miR408 expression leads to improved tolerance to salinity, cold and oxidative stress, but enhanced sensitivity to drought and osmotic stress. Cellular antioxidant capacity was enhanced in plants with elevated miR408 expression, as manifested by reduced levels of reactive oxygen species and induced expression of genes associated with antioxidative functions, including Cu/Zn superoxide dismutases (CSD1 and CSD2) and glutathione-S-transferase (GST-U25), as well as auxiliary genes: the copper chaperone CCS1and the redox stress-associated gene SAP12. Overall, the results demonstrate significant involvement of miR408 in abiotic stress responses, emphasizing the central function of miR408 in plant survival.