Identification of microRNAs from medicinal plant Murraya Koenigii by high-throughput sequencing and their functional implications in secondary metabolite biosynthesis
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPlants. 2022, 11 (1), 46. 10.3390/plants11010046
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNA molecules that play crucial post-transcriptional regulatory roles in plants, including development and stress-response signaling. However, information about their involvement in secondary metabolism is still limited. Murraya koenigii is a popular medicinal plant, better known as curry leaves, that possesses pharmaceutically active secondary metabolites. The present study utilized high-throughput sequencing technology to investigate the miRNA profile of M. koenigii and their association with secondary metabolite biosynthesis. A total of 343,505 unique reads with lengths ranging from 16 to 40 nt were obtained from the sequencing data, among which 142 miRNAs were identified as conserved and 7 as novel miRNAs. Moreover, 6078 corresponding potential target genes of M. koenigii miRNAs were recognized in this study. Interestingly, several conserved and novel miRNAs of M. koenigii were found to target key enzymes of the terpenoid backbone and the flavonoid biosynthesis pathways. Furthermore, to validate the sequencing results, the relative expression of eight randomly selected miRNAs was determined by qPCR. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of the M. koenigii miRNA profile that may provide useful information for further elucidation of the involvement of miRNAs in secondary metabolism. These findings might be crucial in the future to generate artificial-miRNA-based, genetically engineered M. koenigii plants for the overproduction of medicinally highly valuable secondary metabolites.