Small noncoding (nc) RNAs (sRNAs) are the important posttranscriptional regulatory factors in gene regulatory networks. They are involved in many important processes of plant development and stress responses. Increasingly research data reveal that microRNAs (miRNAs), heterochromatic small interfering RNAs (hc-siRNAs), trans-acting small interfering RNAs (ta-siRNAs), natural antisense small interfering RNAs (nat-siRNAs), repeat-associated small interfering RNAs (ra-siRNAs), and the piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are involved in heat stress, salt stress, cold stress, and drought stress, which are found in metazoans. Some small RNAs are required for plant thermotolerance and salt tolerance. These findings facilitate our investigation of the genetic basis of plant adaptability to various environmental stresses and the genetic manipulation of plant tolerance to many abiotic stresses. This chapter highlights the recent advances in understanding the crucial roles of sRNAs in plant responses to heat, drought, salinity, and cold and proposes the potential technologies and strategies used to identify abiotic-stress-regulated sRNAs in addition to the recent advances and methods for validation and analysis of their target genes.
Part of the book: Abiotic and Biotic Stress in Plants