Genome-wide identification of MITE-derived microRNAs and their targets in bread wheat



Plant microRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that are 20–24 nucleotides length and can repress gene expression at post-transcriptional levels by target degradation or translational repression. There is increasing evidence that some microRNAs can be derived from a group of non-autonomous class II transposable elements called Miniature Inverted-repeat Transposable Elements (MITEs) in plants. We used public small RNA, degradome libraries and the common wheat (Triticum aestivum) genome to screen miRNAs production and target sites. We also created a comprehensive wheat MITE database using known and identifying novel elements. We found high homology between MITEs and 14% of all the miRNAs production sites in wheat. Furthermore, we show that MITE-derived miRNAs have preference for target degradation sites with MITE insertions in 3' UTR regions in wheat.

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