De novo Transcriptome Sequencing Reveals a Considerable Bias in the Incidence of Simple Sequence Repeats towards the Downstream of ‘Pre-miRNAs’

Researchers at the Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology, India carried out the de novo sequencing using an Illumina HiSeq™ 2000 to generate the first leaf transcriptome of black pepper (Piper nigrum L.), an important spice variety native to South India and also grown in other tropical regions. Despite the economic and biochemical importance of pepper, a scientifically rigorous study at the molecular level is far from complete due to lack of sufficient sequence information and cytological complexity of its genome.

The 55 million raw reads obtained, when assembled using Trinity program generated 2,23,386 contigs and 1,28,157 unigenes. Reports suggest that the repeat-rich genomic regions give rise to small non-coding functional RNAs. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are the most abundant type of non-coding regulatory RNAs. In spite of the widespread research on miRNAs, little is known about the hair-pin precursors of miRNAs bearing Simple Sequence Repeats (SSRs). They used the array of transcripts generated, for the in silico prediction and detection of ‘43 pre-miRNA candidates bearing different types of SSR motifs’. The analysis identified 3913 different types of SSR motifs with an average of one SSR per 3.04 MB of thetranscriptome. About 0.033% of the transcriptome constituted ‘pre-miRNA candidates bearing SSRs’.

black pepperThe abundance, type and distribution of SSR motifs studied across the hair-pin miRNA precursors, showed a significant bias in the position of SSRs towards the downstream of predicted ‘pre-miRNA candidates’. The catalogue of transcripts identified, together with the demonstration of reliable existence of SSRs in the miRNA precursors, permits future opportunities for understanding the genetic mechanism of black pepper and likely functions of ‘tandem repeats’ in miRNAs.

  • Joy N, Asha S, Mallika V, Soniya EV (2013) De novo Transcriptome Sequencing Reveals a Considerable Bias in the Incidence of Simple Sequence Repeats towards the Downstream of ‘Pre-miRNAs’ of Black Pepper. PLoS ONE 8(3),  e56694. [article]