MicroRNA (miRNA), recently recognized as a critical post-transcriptional modulator of gene expression, is involved in numerous biological processes in both animals and plants. Although eudicots and monocots, such as the model plants Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and rice (Oryza sativa), possess distinct root systems, several homologous miRNA families are reported to be involved in root growth control in both plants. Consistent with recent notion that numerous signaling pathways are implicated in root development, these miRNAs are implicated in auxin signaling, nutrition metabolism, or stress response and have potential role in mediating the signal interactions. However, a recapitulative representation of these results is especially desired. This review provides a global view of the involvement of miRNAs in root development focusing on the two plants, Arabidopsis and rice. Based on current research advances, several innovative mechanisms of miRNA transcription, feedback regulatory circuit between miRNAs and transcription factors (TFs), and miRNA-mediated signal interactions are also discussed.
School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University
Nanjing 210023, China