MicroRNA Signatures in Plant Genome Stability and Genotoxic Stress


Plant are subject to high levels of DNA damage resulting from their obligatory dependence on sunlight and the associated exposure to environmental stresses. Irreversible DNA damage generated by genotoxic stresses hinders plant development and crop productivity. In order to maintain genome stability, plants have developed multiple mechanisms to detect and repair DNA damage. Among these, the intricate DNA damage response (DDR) network consists of an impressive array of DNA damage sensing and signal transduction pathways leading to DNA repair and cell survival or, alternatively, triggering cell death. Due to the essential role of DNA repair in maintaining genomic stability, tightly controlled regulatory mechanism are required to oversee these processes. Among the different regulatory mechanisms known, post-transcriptional regulation mediated by microRNAs (miRNAs) has the potential to modulate the expression of genes that participate in a specific metabolic or developmental context in both plants and animals. Indeed, an interplay between DDR and miRNAs can be envisioned as DDR can modulate miRNA expression whereas miRNAs can directly or indirectly modulate the expression of multiple proteins belonging to the DDR pathways. Studies on human and animal cells have already demonstrated that the expression of DDR components can be modulated by miRNAs and are now exploring the DDR-miRNA interaction in view of therapeutic support. Nevertheless, in plants this topic has merely scratched the surface despite the considerable amount of research is being carried out to understand the role of miRNAs in shaping plant development and response to abiotic or biotic stresses. It remains to be elucidated the role of miRNAs in the regulation of DNA damage sensing and repair mechanisms in plants in response to genotoxic stresses.

Within this context, the present Research Topic proposes to focus on the implication of miRNAs in the specific response to genotoxic stresses and their involvement in the maintenance of genome integrity through direct or indirect interactions with DDR components.

Scientists are invited to contribute with original research articles, research notes as well as review articles and perspectives with the common aim to illustrate and stimulate the efforts to decipher the regulatory mechanisms underlying the interplay between miRNAs and DNA damage sensing and repair in plants. Research studies dealing with any type of stress that leads to genome instability are desired and encouraged provided that DNA damage is experimentally demonstrated and miRNAs involvement in the response to stress is proven. As ‘omics’ studies have the potential to provide a big amount of data to ascertain the proposed hypothesis, miRNAome and degradome studies are most welcomed. Additionally, genetic engineering and genome editing approaches relative to miRNAs and/or their target genes aiming at providing basic or applied knowledge for crop improvement are of great interest.



Comparative omics analyses or descriptive studies will not be considered for review unless they are extended to provide meaningful insights into gene/protein function and/or the biology of plants.


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Larry Tyler

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Journal of Clinical Toxicology

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