Chinese Bulletin of Botany ›› 2014, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (4): 483-489.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1259.2014.00483

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Research Advances in Post-transcriptional Modification and Degradation of Mature MicroRNAs in Plants

Junhong Zhang1, Shougong Zhang2, Liwang Qi2*, Zaikang Tong1*   

  1. 1Nurturing Station for the State Key Laboratory of Subtropical Silviculture, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University, Lin’an 311300, China;

    2Laboratory of Cell Biology, Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
  • Received:2013-12-23 Revised:2014-04-23 Online:2014-07-01 Published:2014-08-08
  • Contact: Zaikang Tong, Liwang Qi

Abstract: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of endogenous small RNA molecules, 20–24 nt, found in diverse plants. MiRNAs function as transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. They play essential roles in developmental and physiological processes of plants, including organ morphogenesis, responses to hormones and environmental stresses, and nutrition metabolism. Although progresses have been made in the biosynthesis and functional identification of miRNAs in plants, post-transcriptional modification or degradation of miRNAs in plants remains elusive. On one hand, miRNAs will be degraded, which is crucial to control the miRNA content in cells, thus regulating the growth, development and stress response in plants. On the other hand, the post-transcriptional modification of mature miRNAs might be associated with miRNA stability. Several studies have demonstrated that adenylation increases miRNA stability, while uridylation boosts degradation. This review will focus on research progress in post-transcriptional modification and degradation of mature miRNAs in plants, hopefully to provide useful information for miRNA destiny in plants.