Genes & Genomics

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 305–314 | Cite as

Identification of microRNAs involved in drought stress responses in early-maturing cotton by high-throughput sequencing

  • Zhanghui Dong
  • Jianhong Zhang
  • Qingzhu Zhu
  • Lifen Zhao
  • Shuxiang Sui
  • Zengshu Li
  • Yanli Zhang
  • Hu Wang
  • Dongliang Tian
  • Yankun Zhao
Research Article


Drought stress is one of the most important abiotic stresses. Cotton is classified as drought tolerant crop but the regulatory mechanism is unknown. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been implicated important roles in stress responses in many plants. However, the study of miRNAs in cotton responsive to drought stress is limited, especially in early-maturing cotton. In this study, we performed deep sequencing of small RNAs to identify known and novel miRNAs involved in the regulation of drought stress and understand the expression profile of miRNAs in early-maturing cotton. Three cotton small RNA libraries: non-stressed Shizao1 (early-maturing cotton variety) library (NSS), drought-stressed Shizao1 library (DSS) and non-stressed Jimian958 (medium-maturing cotton variety) library (NSJ) were constructed for deep sequencing. As a result, we identified a total of 64 known and 67 novel miRNAs in the 3 libraries and 88 of them were dramatically differentially expressed (greater than twofold) during drought stress. In addition, we found the expression of 41 miRNAs increased or reduced more than twofold in early-maturing cotton variety compared with that in medium-maturing cotton variety. Our results significantly increased the number of miRNAs in cotton and revealed for the first time the expression profile of miRNAs for early-maturing cotton.


MiRNAs Drought stress Medium-maturing cotton Early-maturing cotton Deep Sequencing 



This work was supported by China Agriculture Research System of cotton (CARS-18-27), National science and technology major project (2018ZX08005001-007), Hebei Agriculture Research System of cotton (HBCT2013030202) and Science and Technology Support Plan of Hebei (16226303D-2).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors, Zhanghui Dong, Jianhong Zhang, Qingzhu Zhu, Lifen Zhao, Shuxiang Sui, Zengshu Li, Yanli Zhang, Hu Wang, Dongliang Tian, and Yankun Zhao declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© The Genetics Society of Korea and Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhanghui Dong
    • 1
  • Jianhong Zhang
    • 2
  • Qingzhu Zhu
    • 1
  • Lifen Zhao
    • 1
  • Shuxiang Sui
    • 1
  • Zengshu Li
    • 1
  • Yanli Zhang
    • 1
  • Hu Wang
    • 1
  • Dongliang Tian
    • 1
  • Yankun Zhao
    • 1
  1. 1.Shijiazhuang Academy of Agricultural and Forestry SciencesShijiazhuangChina
  2. 2.Institute of CottonHebei Academy of Agriculture and Forestry SciencesShijiazhuangChina

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