Role of bioinformatics in establishing microRNAs as modulators of abiotic stress responses: the new revolution.

microRNAs (miRs) are a class of 21-24 nucleotide long non-coding RNAs responsible for regulating the expression of associated genes mainly by cleavage or translational inhibition of the target transcripts. With this characteristic of silencing, miRs act as an important component in regulation of plant responses in various stress conditions. In recent years, with drastic change in environmental and soil conditions different type of stresses have emerged as a major challenge for plants growth and productivity. The identification and profiling of miRs has itself been a challenge for research workers given their small size and large number of many probable sequences in the genome. Application of computational approaches has expedited the process of identification of miRs and their expression profiling in different conditions. The development of High-Throughput Sequencing (HTS) techniques has facilitated to gain access to the global profiles of the miRs for understanding their mode of action in plants. Introduction of various bioinformatics databases and tools have revolutionized the study of miRs and other small RNAs. This review focuses the role of bioinformatics approaches in the identification and study of the regulatory roles of plant miRs in the adaptive response to stresses.

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