Small RNA profiling in Pinus pinaster reveals the transcriptome of developing seeds and highlights differences between zygotic and somatic embryos

Andreia S. Rodrigues, Inês Chaves, Bruno Vasques Costa, Yao Cheng Lin, Susana Lopes, Ana Milhinhos, Yves Van de Peer, Célia M. Miguel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Regulation of seed development by small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) is an important mechanism controlling a crucial phase of the life cycle of seed plants. In this work, sRNAs from seed tissues (zygotic embryos and megagametophytes) and from somatic embryos of Pinus pinaster were analysed to identify putative regulators of seed/embryo development in conifers. In total, sixteen sRNA libraries covering several developmental stages were sequenced. We show that embryos and megagametophytes express a large population of 21-nt sRNAs and that substantial amounts of 24-nt sRNAs were also detected, especially in somatic embryos. A total of 215 conserved miRNAs, one third of which are conifer-specific, and 212 high-confidence novel miRNAs were annotated. MIR159, MIR171 and MIR394 families were found in embryos, but were greatly reduced in megagametophytes. Other families, like MIR397 and MIR408, predominated in somatic embryos and megagametophytes, suggesting their expression in somatic embryos is associated with in vitro conditions. Analysis of the predicted miRNA targets suggests that miRNA functions are relevant in several processes including transporter activity at the cotyledon-forming stage, and sulfur metabolism across several developmental stages. An important resource for studying conifer embryogenesis is made available here, which may also provide insightful clues for improving clonal propagation via somatic embryogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11327
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

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