Identification and characterization of miRNAs during flag leaf senescence in rice by high-throughput sequencing

  • Jyothish Madambikattil Sasi
  • Cheeni Vijaya Kumar
  • Balaji Mani
  • Ankur R. Bhardwaj
  • Manu Agarwal
  • Surekha Katiyar-AgarwalEmail author
Original Article


Flag leaf is the last leaf to senesce and its life span plays a critical role in determining grain quality and yield in rice. Little is known about the molecular changes that occur and their regulation in time-dependent manner during flag leaf senescence in rice. Several studies have explored different aspects of miRNA functions in plant development; however, a diminutive account is available about their role in flag leaf senescence. With an aim to unravel the role of miRNAs in ageing of flag leaf in rice, four small RNA libraries were prepared from three stages of senescence and sequenced by Illumina deep sequencing technology. Thirty-eight known and 494 novel miRNAs were identified in the senescing flag leaves. Digital expression analysis revealed that 21 known and 116 novel miRNAs were differentially expressed during senescence. Family member(s) of miR156, miR159, miR160, miR164, miR169, miR171, miR393, miR396, miR535, miR827, miR1428, miR1432 and miR1861 were differentially expressed in at least one stage of flag leaf senescence. The present study has generated a repository of senescence-related miRNAs that can be utilized to contemplate molecular approaches for manipulating the timing of flag leaf senescence in rice and other related crops.


Rice Flag leaf senescence Small RNA miRNAs High throughput sequencing qPCR 



JMS and CVK are thankful for research fellowships from University Grants Commission (UGC), India. R&D grants from DBT, DST-PURSE and University of Delhi are acknowledged. We thank Gopal Joshi for helping with submission of small RNA sequencing data to SRA database. Deep sequencing was carried out by DBT-funded High-Throughput Sequencing Facility at University of Delhi South Campus, New Delhi, India.

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Copyright information

© Indian Society for Plant Physiology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jyothish Madambikattil Sasi
    • 1
  • Cheeni Vijaya Kumar
    • 1
  • Balaji Mani
    • 1
  • Ankur R. Bhardwaj
    • 3
  • Manu Agarwal
    • 2
  • Surekha Katiyar-Agarwal
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Plant Molecular BiologyUniversity of Delhi South CampusNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of DelhiDelhiIndia
  3. 3.Department of Botany, Ramjas CollegeUniversity of DelhiDelhiIndia

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