Original Article

Cell Research (2006) 16: 507–518. doi:10.1038/sj.cr.7310062; published online 15 May 2006

Duplication and expression analysis of multicopy miRNA gene family members in Arabidopsis and rice

Danhua Jiang1,2, Changsong Yin1, Aiping Yu1,3, Xiaofan Zhou1, Wanqi Liang1,4, Zheng Yuan1, Yun Xu1, Qingbo Yu1, Tieqiao Wen2 and Dabing Zhang1,4

  1. 1SJTU-SIBS-PSU Joint Center for Life Sciences, School of Life Science and Biotechnology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 800 Dongchuan Road, Shanghai 200240, China
  2. 2School of Life Science, Shanghai University, 99 Shangda Road, Shanghai 200444, China
  3. 3College of Life and Environment Sciences, Shanghai Normal University, 100 Guilin Road, Shanghai 200234, China
  4. 4Key Laboratory of Agricultural Genetics and Breeding, Agro-biotech Research Center, Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 2901 Beidi Road, Shanghai 201106, China

Correspondence: Dabing Zhang, Tel: +86-21-34205073; Fax: +86-21-34204869; E-mail: zhangdb@sjtu.edu.cn

Received 17 January 2006; Revised 22 February 2006; Accepted 28 February 2006.



To understand the expansion of multicopy microRNA (miRNA) families in plants, we localized the reported miRNA genes from Arabidopsis and rice to their chromosomes, respectively, and observed that 37% of 117 miRNA genes from Arabidopsis and 35% of 173 miRNA genes from rice were segmental duplications in the genome. In order to characterize whether the expression diversification has occurred among plant multicopy miRNA family members, we designed PCR primers targeting 48 predicted miRNA precursors from 10 families in Arabidopsis and rice. Results from RT-PCR data suggest that the transcribed precursors of members within the same miRNA family were present at different expression levels. In addition, although miR160 and miR162 sequences were conserved in Arabidopsis and rice, we found that the expression patterns of these genes differed between the two species. These data suggested that expression diversification has occurred in multicopy miRNA families, increasing our understanding of the expression regulation of miRNAs in plants.


gene duplication, microRNA, multicopy


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