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1.  Cytoplasmic genome substitution in wheat affects the nuclear-cytoplasmic cross-talk leading to transcript and metabolite alterations 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:868.
Alloplasmic lines provide a unique tool to study nuclear-cytoplasmic interactions. Three alloplasmic lines, with nuclear genomes from Triticum aestivum and harboring cytoplasm from Aegilops uniaristata, Aegilops tauschii and Hordeum chilense, were investigated by transcript and metabolite profiling to identify the effects of cytoplasmic substitution on nuclear-cytoplasmic signaling mechanisms.
In combining the wheat nuclear genome with a cytoplasm of H. chilense, 540 genes were significantly altered, whereas 11 and 28 genes were significantly changed in the alloplasmic lines carrying the cytoplasm of Ae. uniaristata or Ae. tauschii, respectively. We identified the RNA maturation-related process as one of the most sensitive to a perturbation of the nuclear-cytoplasmic interaction. Several key components of the ROS chloroplast retrograde signaling, together with the up-regulation of the ROS scavenging system, showed that changes in the chloroplast genome have a direct impact on nuclear-cytoplasmic cross-talk. Remarkably, the H. chilense alloplasmic line down-regulated some genes involved in the determination of cytoplasmic male sterility without expressing the male sterility phenotype. Metabolic profiling showed a comparable response of the central metabolism of the alloplasmic and euplasmic lines to light, while exposing larger metabolite alterations in the H. chilense alloplasmic line as compared with the Aegilops lines, in agreement with the transcriptomic data. Several stress-related metabolites, remarkably raffinose, were altered in content in the H. chilense alloplasmic line when exposed to high light, while amino acids, as well as organic acids were significantly decreased. Alterations in the levels of transcript, related to raffinose, and the photorespiration-related metabolisms were associated with changes in the level of related metabolites.
The replacement of a wheat cytoplasm with the cytoplasm of a related species affects the nuclear-cytoplasmic cross-talk leading to transcript and metabolite alterations. The extent of these modifications was limited in the alloplasmic lines with Aegilops cytoplasm, and more evident in the alloplasmic line with H. chilense cytoplasm. We consider that, this finding might be linked to the phylogenetic distance of the genomes.
PMCID: PMC4008262  PMID: 24320731
Wheat; Alloplasmic line; Nuclear-cytoplasmic interaction; ROS signaling; Cytoplasmic male sterility
2.  On the complexity of miRNA-mediated regulation in plants: novel insights into the genomic organization of plant miRNAs 
Biology Direct  2012;7:15.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous small non-coding RNAs of about 20–24 nt, known to play key roles in post-transcriptional gene regulation, that can be coded either by intergenic or intragenic loci. Intragenic (exonic and intronic) miRNAs can exert a role in the transcriptional regulation and RNA processing of their host gene. Moreover, the possibility that the biogenesis of exonic miRNAs could destabilize the corresponding protein-coding transcript and reduce protein synthesis makes their characterization very intriguing and suggests a possible novel mechanism of post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression.
This work was designed to carry out the computational identification of putative exonic miRNAs in 30 plant species and the analysis of possible mechanisms involved in their regulation.
The results obtained represent a useful starting point for future studies on the complex networks involved in microRNA-mediated gene regulation in plants.
PMCID: PMC3464803  PMID: 22569316
Gene regulation; Exonic miRNA; miRNA self regulation; Plants
3.  A Survey of MicroRNA Length Variants Contributing to miRNome Complexity in Peach (Prunus Persica L.) 
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNA molecules produced from hairpin structures and involved in gene expression regulation with major roles in plant development and stress response. Although each annotated miRNA in miRBase ( is a single defined sequence with no further details on possible variable sequence length, isomiRs – namely the population of variants of miRNAs coming from the same precursors – have been identified in several species and could represent a way of broadening the regulatory network of the cell. Next-gen-based sequencing makes it possible to comprehensively and accurately assess the entire miRNA repertoire including isomiRs. The aim of this work was to survey the complexity of the peach miRNome by carrying out Illumina high-throughput sequencing of miRNAs in three replicates of five biological samples arising from a set of different peach organs and/or phenological stages. Three hundred-ninety-two isomiRs (miRNA and miRNA*-related) corresponding to 26 putative miRNA coding loci, have been highlighted by mirDeep-P and analyzed. The presence of the same isomiRs in different biological replicates of a sample and in different tissues demonstrates that the generation of most of the detected isomiRs is not random. The degree of mature sequence heterogeneity is very different for each individual locus. Results obtained in the present work can thus contribute to a deeper view of the miRNome complexity and to better explore the mechanism of action of these tiny regulators.
PMCID: PMC3405489  PMID: 22855688
microRNA; isomiRs; next generation sequencing

Results 1-3 (3)