Abiotic stress miRNomes in the Triticeae

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The continued growth in world population necessitates increases in both the quantity and quality of agricultural production. Triticeae members, particularly wheat and barley, make an important contribution to world food reserves by providing rich sources of carbohydrate and protein. These crops are grown over diverse production environments that are characterized by a range of environmental or abiotic stresses. Abiotic stresses such as drought, heat, salinity, or nutrient deficiencies and toxicities cause large yield losses resulting in economic and environmental damage. The negative effects of abiotic stresses have increased at an alarming rate in recent years and are predicted to further deteriorate due to climate change, land degradation, and declining water supply. New technologies have provided an important tool with great potential for improving crop tolerance to the abiotic stresses: microRNAs (miRNAs). miRNAs are small regulators of gene expression that act on many different molecular and biochemical processes such as development, environmental adaptation, and stress tolerance. miRNAs can act at both the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels, although post-transcriptional regulation is the most common in plants where miRNAs can inhibit the translation of their mRNA targets via complementary binding and cleavage. To date, expression of several miRNA families such as miR156, miR159, and miR398 has been detected as responsive to environmental conditions to regulate stress-associated molecular mechanisms individually and/or together with their various miRNA partners. Manipulation of these miRNAs and their targets may pave the way to improve crop performance under several abiotic stresses. Here, we summarize the current status of our knowledge on abiotic stress-associated miRNAs in members of the Triticeae tribe, specifically in wheat and barley, and the miRNA-based regulatory mechanisms triggered by stress conditions. Exploration of further miRNA families together with their functions under stress will improve our knowledge and provide opportunities to enhance plant performance to help us meet global food demand.




Alptekin, Burcu, Peter Langridge, and Hikmet Budak. "Abiotic stress miRNomes in the Triticeae." Functional & Integrative Genomics 7, no. 2 (May 2017): 145-170. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10142-016-0525-9.
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