Integrated sRNAome and RNA-Seq analysis reveals miRNA effects on betalain biosynthesis in pitaya

Canbin Chen, Fangfang Xie, Qingzhu Hua, Noemi Tel Zur, Lulu Zhang, Zhike Zhang, Rong Zhang, Jietang Zhao, Guibing Hu, Yonghua Qin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) and their regulatory functions in anthocyanin, carotenoid, and chlorophyll accumulation have been extensively characterized in many plant species. However, the miRNA regulatory mechanism in betalain biosynthesis remains mostly unknown.

RESULTS: In this study, 126 conserved miRNAs and 41 novel miRNAs were first isolated from Hylocereus monacanthus, among which 95 conserved miRNAs belonged to 53 miRNA families. Thirty-four candidate miRNAs related to betalain biosynthesis were differentially expressed. The expression patterns of those differential expressed miRNAs were analyzed in various pitaya tissues by RT-qPCR. A significantly negative correlation was detected between the expression levels of half those miRNAs and corresponding target genes. Target genes of miRNAs i.e. Hmo-miR157b-HmSPL6-like, Hmo-miR160a-Hpcyt P450-like3, Hmo-miR6020-HmCYP71A8-like, Hmo-novel-2-HmCYP83B1-like, Hmo-novel-15-HmTPST-like, Hmo-miR828a-HmTT2-like, Hmo-miR858-HmMYB12-like, Hmo-miR858-HmMYBC1-like and Hmo-miR858-HmMYB2-like were verified by 5'RACE and transient expression system in tobacco.

CONCLUSIONS: Hmo-miR157b, Hmo-miR160a, Hmo-miR6020 Hmo-novel-2, Hmo-novel-15, Hmo-miR828a and Hmo-miR858 play important roles in pitaya fruit coloration and betalain accumulation. Our findings provide new insights into the roles of miRNAs and their target genes of regulatory functions involved in betalain biosynthesis of pitaya.

Original languageEnglish GB
Article number437
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 22 Sep 2020


  • Betalains/biosynthesis
  • Cactaceae/genetics
  • MicroRNAs/genetics
  • RNA, Plant/genetics
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Transcriptome/genetics


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