Regulatory non-coding RNAs: a new frontier in regulation of plant biology
Beyond the most crucial roles of RNA molecules as a messenger, ribosomal, and transfer RNAs, the regulatory role of many non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) in plant biology has been recognized. ncRNAs act as riboregulators by recognizing specific nucleic acid targets through homologous sequence interactions to regulate plant growth, development, and stress responses. Regulatory ncRNAs, ranging from small to long ncRNAs (lncRNAs), exert their control over a vast array of biological processes. Based on the mode of biogenesis and their function, ncRNAs evolved into different forms that include microRNAs (miRNAs), small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), miRNA variants (isomiRs), lncRNAs, circular RNAs (circRNAs), and derived ncRNAs. This article explains the different classes of ncRNAs and their role in plant development and stress responses. Furthermore, the applications of regulatory ncRNAs in crop improvement, targeting agriculturally important traits, have been discussed.