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Temporal Small RNA Expression Profiling Under Drought Reveals a Potential Regulatory Role of snoRNAs in Drought Responses of Maize

By Jun Zheng, Erliang Zeng, Yicong Du, Ying Hu, Cheng He, Zhenzhen Jiao, Kai Wang, Wenxue Li, Maria Ludens, Haiyan Wang, Frank F White, Junjie Fu, Guoying Wang, Sanzhen Liu

Posted 25 Jul 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/376004

Small RNAs (sRNAs) are short noncoding RNAs that play roles in many biological processes, including drought responses in plants. However, how the expression of sRNAs dynamically changes with the gradual imposition of drought stress in plants is largely unknown. We generated time-series sRNA sequence data from maize seedlings under drought stress and under well-watered conditions at the same time points. Analyses of length, functional annotation, and abundance of 736,372 non-redundant sRNAs from both drought and well-watered data, as well as genome copy number and chromatin modifications at the corresponding genomic regions, revealed distinct patterns of abundance, genome organization, and chromatin modifications for different sRNA classes of sRNAs. The analysis identified 6,646 sRNAs whose regulation was altered in response to drought stress. Among drought-responsive sRNAs, 1,325 showed transient down-regulation by the seventh day, coinciding with visible symptoms of drought stress. The profiles revealed drought-responsive microRNAs, as well as other sRNAs that originated from ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), splicing small nuclear RNAs, and small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNA). Expression profiles of their sRNA derivers indicated that snoRNAs might play a regulatory role through regulating stability of rRNAs and splicing small nuclear RNAs under drought condition.

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