The pivotal role of small non-coding RNAs in the regulation of seed development

Andreia S. Rodrigues, Célia M. Miguel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Seeds represent a crucial stage of the seed plants life cycle. It is during seed development that the foundations of the future plant body, and the ability to give rise to a new plant capable of growing under sometimes adverse environmental conditions, are established. Small non-coding RNAs are major regulators of gene expression both at the post-transcriptional and transcriptional levels and, not surprisingly, these elements play major roles in seed development and germination. We review here the current knowledge about small RNA expression and functions in seed development, going from the morphogenesis phase comprehending embryo development and patterning, to the several steps of the maturation phase, ending in the transition to the germination. A special focus is given to the small RNAs for which functional studies have been conducted and their participation in regulatory networks operating in seeds. Many challenges remain ahead for dissecting the complex small RNA landscape in seeds, but this is a highly relevant issue in plant biology and advances in this area will most certainly impact plant breeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-667
Number of pages15
JournalPlant Cell Reports
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • Embryogenesis
  • Functional characterization
  • Regulatory networks
  • Seed development
  • Small RNA profiling


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