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The genome-wide impact of cadmium on microRNA and mRNA expression in contrasting Cd responsive wheat genotypes

Zhou, Min; Zheng, Shigang; Liu, Rong; Lu, Lu; Zhang, Chihong; Zhang, Lei; Yant, Levi; Wu, Yu


Min Zhou

Shigang Zheng

Rong Liu

Lu Lu

Chihong Zhang

Lei Zhang

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Professor of Evolutionary Genomics

Yu Wu


© 2019 The Author(s). Background: Heavy metal ATPases (HMAs) are responsible for Cd translocation and play a primary role in Cd detoxification in various plant species. However, the characteristics of HMAs and the regulatory mechanisms between HMAs and microRNAs in wheat (Triticum aestivum L) remain unknown. Results: By comparative microRNA and transcriptome analysis, a total three known and 19 novel differentially expressed microRNAs (DEMs) and 1561 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were found in L17 after Cd treatment. In H17, by contrast, 12 known and 57 novel DEMs, and only 297 Cd-induced DEGs were found. Functional enrichments of DEMs and DEGs indicate how genotype-specific biological processes responded to Cd stress. Processes found to be involved in microRNAs-associated Cd response include: ubiquitin mediated proteolysis, tyrosine metabolism, and carbon fixation pathways and thiamine metabolism. For the mRNA response, categories including terpenoid backbone biosynthesis and phenylalanine metabolism, and photosynthesis - antenna proteins and ABC transporters were enriched. Moreover, we identified 32 TaHMA genes in wheat. Phylogenetic trees, chromosomal locations, conserved motifs and expression levels in different tissues and roots under Cd stress are presented. Finally, we infer a microRNA-TaHMAs expression network, indicating that miRNAs can regulate TaHMAs. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that microRNAs play important role in wheat under Cd stress through regulation of targets such as TaHMA2;1. Identification of these targets will be useful for screening and breeding low-Cd accumulation wheat lines.


Zhou, M., Zheng, S., Liu, R., Lu, L., Zhang, C., Zhang, L., …Wu, Y. (2019). The genome-wide impact of cadmium on microRNA and mRNA expression in contrasting Cd responsive wheat genotypes. BMC Genomics, 20(1), Article 615.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 26, 2019
Online Publication Date Jul 29, 2019
Publication Date Jul 29, 2019
Deposit Date Sep 24, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 28, 2021
Journal BMC Genomics
Electronic ISSN 1471-2164
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 1
Article Number 615
Public URL
Publisher URL


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