Crop Biotech Update

Experts Characterize Cadmium-responsive MiRNAs and their Target Genes in Maize

May 8, 2019

Studies have shown that microRNAs (miRNAs) have significant functions in plant's response to stress brought by exposure to heavy metals. Cadmium, a heavy metal, is one of the most deleterious pollutants in the environment. Maize is a good candidate for investigating phytoremediation of Cadmium-contaminated soil because of its large biomass production. Furthermore, there is limited information about miRNAs as a response to Cadmium stress in maize. Thus, experts from Yangtze Normal University conducted a study to understand the function of miRNAs in response to Cadmium stress. The results are published in BMC Molecular Biology.

The research team collected roots of seedlings of inbred maize lines B73 and Mo17 that were subjected to Cadmium over varied exposure times. Cadmium stress was confirmed through levels of enzymatic activities. The expression of six candidate miRNAs and their targets were validated using quantitative real-time PCR technology; while the expression of Zma-miR171b was evaluated using in situ hybridization.

Results showed that miRNAs and their respective target genes were differentially expressed in maize seedling roots exposed to Cadmium stress. The results also provided insights into the molecular mechanism of miRNAs in response to Cadmium stress and confirmed that miRNAs in plants play important roles in responding to heavy metal stress.

Read more findings in BMC Molecular Biology.