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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 6783010, 8 pages
Research Article

Bioinformatics Study of Structural Patterns in Plant MicroRNA Precursors

1Institute of Computing Science and European Centre for Bioinformatics and Genomics, Poznan University of Technology, Poznan, Poland
2Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznan, Poland

Correspondence should be addressed to M. Szachniuk

Received 10 August 2016; Revised 18 December 2016; Accepted 12 January 2017; Published 9 February 2017

Academic Editor: Yudong Cai

Copyright © 2017 J. Miskiewicz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


According to the RNA world theory, RNAs which stored genetic information and catalyzed chemical reactions had their contribution in the formation of current living organisms. In recent years, researchers studied this molecule diversity, i.a. focusing on small non-coding regulatory RNAs. Among them, of particular interest is evolutionarily ancient, 19–24 nt molecule of microRNA (miRNA). It has been already recognized as a regulator of gene expression in eukaryotes. In plants, miRNA plays a key role in the response to stress conditions and it participates in the process of growth and development. MicroRNAs originate from primary transcripts (pri-miRNA) encoded in the nuclear genome. They are processed from single-stranded stem-loop RNA precursors containing hairpin structures. While the mechanism of mature miRNA production in animals is better understood, its biogenesis in plants remains less clear. Herein, we present the results of bioinformatics analysis aimed at discovering how plant microRNAs are recognized within their precursors (pre-miRNAs). The study has been focused on sequential and structural motif identification in the neighbourhood of microRNA.