Additional insights into the adaptation of cotton plants under abiotic stresses by in silico analysis of conserved miRNAs in cotton expressed sequence tag database (dbEST)
Abiotic stress is the primary cause of crop losses worldwide. In addition to protein coding genes, microRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as important players in plant stress responses. Though miRNAs are key in regulating many aspects of plant developmental plasticity under abiotic stresses, very few information are available in cotton. Hence, this study was conducted to identify the phylogenetically conserved miRNAs in cotton, using computational approaches. In this paper, we reported a set of miRNAs such as miR159, miR165, miR170, miR319, miR529, miR828, miR869, miR1030, miR1884, and miR2118 that are likely to be involved in abiotic stress response. Although, few of them have been described in literature for their specific role in fiber development, literature survey have shown that they may also be involved in abiotic stress response. Interestingly, miRNAs reported in this study were found to have several targets that are involved in abiotic stress resistance. Considering all together, it was concluded that these newly identified conserved microRNAs in cotton have great potential in future efforts to improve abiotic stress tolerance in cotton.
Key words: miRNA, cotton, abiotic stress resistance, in silico analysis.