The role of UV-B light on small RNA activity during grapevine berry development

Sukumaran Sunitha, Rodrigo Loyola, José Antonio Alcalde, Patricio Arce-Johnson, José Tomás Matus, Christopher D. Rock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


We explored the effects of ultraviolet B radiation (UV-B) on the developmental dynamics of microRNAs and phased small-interfering-RNA (phasi-RNAs)-producing loci by sequencing small RNAs in vegetative and reproductive organs of grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.). In particular, we tested different UV-B conditions in in vitro-grown plantlets (high-fluence exposition) and in berries from field-grown (radiation filtering) and greenhouse-grown (low- and high-fluence expositions) adult plants throughout fruit development and ripening. The functional significance of the observed UV-coordinated miRNA responses was supported by degradome evidences of ARGONAUTE (AGO)-programmed slicing of mRNAs. Co-expression patterns of the up-regulated miRNAs miR156, miR482, miR530, and miR828 with cognate target gene expressions in response to high-fluence UV-B was tested by q-RT-PCR. The observed UV-response relationships were also interrogated against two published UV-stress and developmental transcriptome datasets. Together, the dynamics observed between miRNAs and targets suggest that changes in target abundance are mediated transcriptionally and, in some cases, modulated post-transcriptionally by miRNAs. Despite the major changes in target abundance are being controlled primarily by those developmental effects that are similar between treatments, we show evidence for novel miRNA-regulatory networks in grape. A model is proposed where high-fluence UV-B increases miR168 and miR530 that target ARGONAUTE 1 (AGO1) and a Plus-3 domain mRNA, respectively, while decreasing miR403 that targets AGO2, thereby coordinating post-transcriptional gene silencing activities by different AGOs. Up-regulation of miR3627/4376 could facilitate anthocyanin accumulation by antagonizing a calcium effector, whereas miR395 and miR399, induced by micronutrient deficiencies known to trigger anthocyanin accumulation, respond positively to UV-B radiation. Finally, increases in the abundance of an anthocyanin-regulatory MYB-bHLH-WD40 complex elucidated in Arabidopsis, mediated by UV-B-induced changes in miR156/miR535, could contribute to the observed up-regulation of miR828. In turn, miR828 would regulate the AtMYB113-ortologues MYBA5, A6 and A7 (and thereby anthocyanins) via a widely conserved and previously validated auto-regulatory loop involving miR828 and phasi TAS4abc RNAs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-787
Number of pages19
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • Anthocyanin polyphenols
  • Light signaling
  • MYBA
  • Oxidative
  • Stress
  • Veraison
  • miRNAs
  • siRNAs


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