The knowledge on post-transcriptional regulation mechanisms implicated in seed development (SD) is still limited, particularly in one of the most consumed grain legumes, Phaseolus vulgaris L. We explore for the first time the miRNA expression dynamics in P. vulgaris developing seeds. Seventy-two known and 39 new miRNAs were found expressed in P. vulgaris developing seeds. Most of the miRNAs identified were more abundant at 10 and 40 days after anthesis, suggesting that late embryogenesis/early filling and desiccation were SD stages in which miRNA action is more pronounced. Degradome analysis and target prediction identified targets for 77 expressed miRNAs. While several known miRNAs were predicted to target HD-ZIP, ARF, SPL, and NF-Y transcription factors families, most of the predicted targets for new miRNAs encode for functional proteins. MiRNAs-targets expression profiles evidenced that these miRNAs could tune distinct seed developmental stages. MiRNAs more accumulated at early SD stages were implicated in regulating the end of embryogenesis, postponing the seed maturation program, storage compound synthesis and allocation. MiRNAs more accumulated at late SD stages could be implicated in seed quiescence, desiccation tolerance, and longevity with still uncovered roles in germination. The miRNAs herein described represent novel P. vulgaris resources with potential application in future biotechnological approaches to modulate the expression of genes implicated in legume seed traits with impact in horticultural production systems.
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