J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2022, Vol. 64 ›› Issue (5): 995-1006.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.13253

• Cell and Developmental Biology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The miR166 mediated regulatory module controls plant height by regulating gibberellic acid biosynthesis and catabolism in soybean

Chen Zhao1†, Jingjing Ma2†, Yaohua Zhang2, Suxin Yang2, Xianzhong Feng2* and Jun Yan1*   

  1. 1 School of Life Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
    2 Key Laboratory of Soybean Molecular Design Breeding, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China

    These authors share first authorship on this work.
    *Correspondence: Xianzhong Feng (fengxianzhong@iga.ac.cn); Jun Yan (jyan@bio.ecnu.edu.cn, Dr. Yan is fully responsible for the distribution of the materials associated with this article)
  • Received:2022-01-28 Accepted:2022-03-17 Online:2022-04-29 Published:2022-05-01


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous small non-coding RNAs that play critical roles in regulating plant growth and development. Here, we used Short Tandem Target Mimic (STTM) technology to generate soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) miRNA knockdown lines and identify miRNAs that regulate plant height, a key agronomic trait that affects yield. STTM166 successfully silenced miR166 in soybean and upregulated the expression of miR166 target genes, such as ATHB14-LIKE. The miR166 knockdown lines (GmSTTM166) displayed a reduced plant height phenotype. Moreover, GmSTTM166 plants contained lower levels of bioactive gibberellic acid (GA3) than wild-type plants, and application of exogenous GA partially rescued the dwarf phenotype of GmSTTM166. Knockdown of miR166 altered the expression of genes involved in GA biosynthesis and catabolism. Further analysis revealed that ATHB14-LIKE directly represses transcription of the GA biosynthesis genes GmGA1 and GmGA2, while activating transcription of the GA catabolic gene GIBBERLLIN 2 OXIDASE 2 (GmGA2ox2). Collectively, these results reveal a pivotal role for miR166 in the genetic control of plant height in soybean, thereby providing invaluable insights for molecular breeding to improve soybean yield.

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