Regulatory networks of response to stress mediated by miRNAs

In general, plants respond to changes in environmental conditions through a complex transcriptional reprogramming. These transcriptional alterations are integrated into multi-layered regulatory networks able to modulate the interplay between the plant and the environmental stimuli. However, the mechanistic aspects and the architecture of the regulatory networks involved in the fine regulation of gene expression related to stress response remains unknown. miRNAs modulate the recovery of plant-cell homeostasis under adverse environmental conditions, however, there are fundamental questions that remain unanswered, such as: a) what kind of miRNA networks plants utilize in order to respond to environmental stress, b) how the miRNA-mediated response to diverse biotic and abiotic stress situations is regulated, and c) if the knowledge gathered in model plants is suitable to be directly transferred to major agricultural crops.

Our main scientific objective is contribute to elucidate how the miRNA-mediated regulatory pathways ultimately control gene expression and functionally connects plant responses with stress conditions. This knowledge is pivotal for a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that enable plants to respond and eventually adapt to the environmental changes. Figure