Role of microRNAs in Plant Adaptation to Environmental Stresses
Due to their immobile nature, plants are constantly challenged by various abiotic stress factors such as drought, salinity, heavy metals, cold, heat, and many others which negatively impact plant growth and development as well as reproduction. Plants perceive such stress signals and respond by reprogramming their gene expression, which enables them to adapt to stress conditions. This altered gene expression includes transcriptional regulation of the stress-responsive genes, which is the major mode of gene regulation, but post-transcriptional gene regulation also plays a profound role in gene regulation during stress. Recently identified microRNAs (miRNAs) are post-transcriptional gene regulatory molecules that silence target gene expression by promoting degradation and/or inhibiting protein production of the target transcript. Several recent studies have firmly established that the miRNA levels are dynamically regulated in plants exposed to stress, which suggests that miRNAs are an integral part of plant stress regulatory networks. Here, we summarize these recent developments.
KeywordsSalt Stress Drought Stress Cold Stress miRNA Family Hypoxia Stress
Research in the RS laboratory is supported by the USDA NRI#2007-02019, NSF-EPSCoR award EPS0814361 and the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station. Ajay Saini acknowledges the DST-BOYSCAST fellowship from the Government of India. We apologize for not citing all published reports due to space limitations.
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