Mining of miRNAs and potential targets from gene oriented clusters of transcripts sequences of the anti-malarial plant, Artemisia annua
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miRNAs involved in the biosynthesis of artemisinin, an anti-malarial compound form the plant Artemisia annua, have been identified using computational approaches to find conserved pre-miRNAs in available A. annua UniGene collections. Eleven pre-miRNAs were found from nine families. Targets predicted for these miRNAs were mainly transcription factors for conserved miRNAs. No target genes involved in artemisinin biosynthesis were found. However, miR390 was predicted to target a gene involved in the trichome development, which is the site of synthesis of artemisinin and could be a candidate for genetic transformation aiming to increase the content of artemisinin. Phylogenetic analyses were carried out to determinate the relation between A. annua and other plant pre-miRNAs: the pre-miRNA-based phylogenetic trees failed to correspond to known phylogenies, suggesting that pre-miRNA primary sequences may be too variable to accurately predict phylogenetic relations.
KeywordsAnti-malarial plant Artemisia annua miRNAs
Gaurav Sablok thanks Key Laboratory of Horticultural Plant Biology (MOE), Huazhong Agricultural University. Tatiana Tatarinova would like to thank the University of Glamorgan’s Research Investment Scheme for supporting this project and Dr Owain Kerton for editing. Financial support for Camilo López and Alvaro Perez comes from Dirección de Investigaciones sede Bogota (Universidad Nacional), Colciencias, and Ministerio de Agricultura de Colombia. This work has been partially funded by Spanish MICINN grant BIO2009-10799.
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