miRNA Mediated Post-Transcriptional Gene Regulation in Response to Abiotic Stress in Plants
Keywords:miRNA, Post-transcriptional Gene Regulation, Abiotic Stress, Arabidopsis, Maize, Rice
Due to their sessile nature, plants are often exposed to harsh environmental conditions. Their livelihood depends on their innate ability to respond to stress and cope with whatever challenges they may face. Phenotypic responses have been characterized to correlate to abiotic stresses, but the molecular mechanisms which underlie these responses are still under investigation. Recently, microRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to play a key role in post-transcriptional regulation in response to abiotic stress. These small, 21 nt miRNAs, target specific mRNA transcripts and affect their translation which may cause downstream effects leading to abiotic stress response. In the following review, research using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system to investigate post-transcriptional regulation in response to abiotic stressors, such as phosphate depletion and oxidative stress, is discussed. Furthermore, research in more economically important crops, such as corn and rice, is overviewed. Investigation into miRNA function in response to stress could provide a new platform to engineer more resilient crops which may prove crucial as climate change and food insecurity continue to plague our agricultural systems.
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