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posted on 20.03.2018, 04:25 by Xingli Ma, Xingguo Zhang, Kunkun Zhao, Fapeng Li, Ke Li, Longlong Ning, Jialin He, Zeyu Xin, Dongmei Yin

Seed expansion in peanut is a complex biological process involving many gene regulatory pathways. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play important regulatory roles in plant growth and development, but little is known about their functions during seed expansion, or how they contribute to seed expansion in different peanut lines. We examined seed miRNA expression patterns at 15 and 35 days after flowering (DAF) in two peanut eighth-generation recombinant inbred lines (RIL8); 8106, a medium-pod variety, and 8107, a super-pod variety. Using high-throughput sequencing, we identified 1,082 miRNAs in developing peanut seeds including 434 novel miRNAs. We identified 316 differentially expressed miRNAs by comparing expression levels between the two peanut lines. Interestingly, 24 miRNAs showed contrasting patterns of expression in the two RILs, and 149 miRNAs were expressed predominantly in only one RIL at 35 DAF. Also, potential target genes for some conserved and novel miRNAs were identified by degradome sequencing; target genes were predicted to be involved in auxin mediated signaling pathways and cell division. We validated the expression patterns of some representative miRNAs and 12 target genes by qPCR, and found negative correlations between the expression level of miRNAs and their targets. miR156e, miR159b, miR160a, miR164a, miR166b, miR168a, miR171n, miR172c-5p, and miR319d and their corresponding target genes may play key roles in seed expansion in peanut. The results of our study also provide novel insights into the dynamic changes in miRNAs that occur during peanut seed development, and increase our understanding of miRNA function in seed expansion.