MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that play a major regulatory role in post translation regulation either by translation inhibition or mRNA cleavage. Recent studies proved that miRNAs have a regulatory role in both abiotic and biotic stress in plants. In our study, we measure the expression profile of 10 known abiotic stress miRNAs in hexaploid bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), under drought stress in the seedling stage. Significant upregulation was observed with osa_miR319a-3p.2-3, miR5048, gmamiR5783, hci-miR156a, bdi-miR159b-3p, zma-miR164g-3, ssl-miR398 and ptcmiR482c- 5p. Among these, hci-miR156a, and osa-miR319a-3p.2-3 showed downregulation after 12 h compared to 2 h treatment. Only osa-miR172b was downregulated. This variant and dynamic expression patterns is good evidence and certain indicator of miRNA correlation to drought tolerance mechanisms present in wheat. This is the first data that provides accurate measurement of some drought related miRNA in wheat in the early exposure to drought stress and in the identification of several genes that could be implicated in drought tolerance and could be used for improving wheat and other cereal crops in this respect.

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