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Cucumis melo MicroRNA Expression Profile During Aphid Herbivory in a Resistant and Susceptible Interaction

June 2012 , Volume 25 , Number  6
Pages  839 - 848

Sampurna Sattar,1 Yan Song,2,3 James A. Anstead,1 Ramanjulu Sunkar,3 and Gary A. Thompson1

1College of Agricultural Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802, U.S.A.; 2Bioinformatics Core Facility and 3Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater 74078, U.S.A.

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Accepted 22 February 2012.

Aphis gossypii resistance in melon (Cucumis melo) is due to the presence of a single dominant virus aphid transmission (Vat) gene belonging to the nucleotide-binding site leucine-rich repeat family of resistance genes. Significant transcriptional reprogramming occurs in Vat+ plants during aphid infestation as metabolism shifts to respond to this biotic stress. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in the regulation of many biotic stress responses. The role of miRNAs was investigated in response to aphid herbivory during both resistant and susceptible interactions. Small RNA (smRNA) libraries were constructed from bulked leaf tissues of a Vat+ melon line following early and late aphid infestations. Sequence analysis indicated that the expression profiles of conserved and newly identified miRNAs were altered during different stages of aphid herbivory. These results were verified by quantitative polymerase chain reaction experiments in both resistant Vat+ and susceptible Vat interactions. The comparative analyses revealed that most of the conserved miRNA families were differentially regulated during the early stages of aphid infestation in the resistant and susceptible interactions. Along with the conserved miRNA families, 18 cucurbit-specific miRNAs were expressed during the different stages of aphid herbivory. The comparison of the miRNA profiles in the resistant and susceptible interactions provides insight into the miRNA-dependent post-transcriptional gene regulation in Vat-mediated resistance.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society