Identification and validation of drought-responsive microRNAs from Hevea brasiliensis

  • Linu Kuruvilla
  • Mohamed SathikEmail author
  • Lisha P. Luke
  • Molly Thomas
Original Article


Drought, in combination with high temperature and low humidity affects the productivity of Hevea brasiliensis, the natural rubber tree and its expansion to non-traditional regions. The genotypes of H. brasiliensis that perform well in traditional regions often failed in non-traditional regions thus necessitating breeding for stress-tolerant genotypes. This can be accomplished by adopting molecular-assisted selection method. Recent developments in identification of drought-responsive transcripts from H. brasiliensis and the findings on role of small RNAs indicate the possibility of employing them as markers for identification of suitable genotypes. In this study, we attempted to identify drought-responsive miRNAs from H. brasiliensis through next-generation sequencing (Illumina HiSeq) method. The results revealed the expression of 33 conserved and 32 novel drought-responsive miRNAs. Further, validation of differentially expressed miRNAs by quantitative expression analysis indicated the association of two novel miRNAs, viz., HbmiRn_63 and HbmiRn_42 and two conserved miRNAs, viz., miR168 and miR160 miRNAs with drought tolerance. These miRNAs can be employed as markers for drought tolerance after validation in a larger set of genotypes. This study opens up the possibility of employing miRNAs as markers for drought tolerance in Hevea.


Abiotic stress Drought tolerance Hevea brasiliensis MiRNAs Quantitative expression analysis 



Auxin response factors


HMG-CoA reductase


Minimal folding free energy




Quantitative PCR


Rubber Research Institute of India



The authors wish to thank Dr. K. Annamalainathan (Joint Director, RRII), Dr. Kavitha K. Mydin (Joint Director, RRII) and Dr. James Jacob (Director of Research, RRII) for their constant support and encouragement throughout the course of the work. Authors also wish to thank Dr. Shammi Raj (Principal Scientist, meteorology) and Dr. K.V Sumesh (Scientist, Plant Physiology) for their help in data analysis and Ms. Smitha M Xavier (Research Scholar) for providing germplasm materials. The authors also thank Dr. Deepthy Antony (Senior Scientist, Plant Breeding) for critical reading and correcting the manuscript. Ms. Linu Kuruvilla is grateful to Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi for the Senior Research Fellowship.

Supplementary material

11738_2018_2803_MOESM1_ESM.docx (99 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 99 KB)


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Copyright information

© Franciszek Górski Institute of Plant Physiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rubber Research Institute of IndiaKottayamIndia

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