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Whilst information regarding small RNAs within agricultural crops is increasing, the miRNA composition of the nutritionally valuable pulse narrow-leafed lupin (Lupinus angustifolius) remains unknown.
By conducting a genome- and transcriptome-wide survey we identified 7 Dicer-like and 16 Argonaute narrow-leafed lupin genes, which were highly homologous to their legume counterparts. We identified 43 conserved miRNAs belonging to 16 families, and 13 novel narrow-leafed lupin-specific miRNAs using high-throughput sequencing of small RNAs from foliar and root and five seed development stages. We observed up-regulation of members of the miRNA families miR167, miR399, miR156, miR319 and miR164 in narrow-leafed lupin seeds, and confirmed expression of miR156, miR166, miR164, miR1507 and miR396 using quantitative RT-PCR during five narrow-leafed lupin seed development stages. We identified potential targets for the conserved and novel miRNAs and were able to validate targets of miR399 and miR159 using 5' RLM-RACE. The conserved miRNAs are predicted to predominately target transcription factors and 93% of the conserved miRNAs originate from intergenic regions. In contrast, only 43% of the novel miRNAs originate from intergenic regions and their predicted targets were more functionally diverse.
This study provides important insights into the miRNA gene regulatory networks during narrow-leafed lupin seed development.