Bioinformatic identification of microRNAs and their targets in Aquilegia formosa x Aquilegia pubescens
As a model system, Aquilegia is of evolutionary and ecological significance. Availability of new genomic resources is facilitating the related researches at molecular level. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of endogenous, non-coding and short RNAs directly involved in regulating gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. High conservation of miRNAs in plants provides the foundation for identification of conserved miRNAs in other plant species through homology alignment. For the purpose of finding miRNAs in Aquilegia Formosa x Aquilegia pubescens, previous known plant miRNAs were, plant were used for BLAST search against its expressed sequence tag (EST) database and following a series of filtering criteria, 12 new miRNAs belonging to 5 miRNA families were identified while 51 potential target genes were subsequently predicted, most of which seemed to encode transcription factors or enzymes participating in regulation of development, growth, metabolism and other physiological processes. These findings not only lay the foundation for understanding the roles of miRNAs in Aquilegia, but also provide a phylogenetically important dataset for plant miRNA evolution studies.
Key words: Aquilegia, bioinformatic analysis, microRNA, evolution.