Anjali N & Sabu K K (2020). Role of miRNAs in biotic and abiotic stress management in crop plants. In: Sustainable Agriculture in the Era of Climate Change. Edited by R. Roychowdhury (Springer New York, USA). Pp. 513-532. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-45669-6_22
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous, 18–25 nucleotide in length, and noncoding RNAs found in animals, plants, and in some viruses. They have been recognized as an important class of gene expression regulators and are involved in a multitude of biological processes in plants, including organ differentiation and development, metabolism, and response to biotic and abiotic stress factors, to mention a few. The method of action of miRNA is by binding to a ribonucleoprotein complex which is incorporated with a protein of Argonaute family. This RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) targets the mRNA and inhibits its expression by degrading mRNA or by translational repression. It has been reported that posttranscriptional regulation mediated by miRNAs has important roles in adverse stress conditions. Some miRNAs respond to a number of abiotic and biotic stresses, and some others are stress specific. Not only characterization of miRNAs but also identification of their targets is crucial in this field of research. The participation of miRNAs in a species-specific manner to biotic and abiotic stress responses reveals the functional diversification of miRNAs among plant species and highlights the importance of conducting miRNA studies in diverse plant species. MicroRNA-based genetic modification technology is a very powerful technique to develop high-yielding crops which can resist biotic and abiotic stress factors.