Millar Lab - MicroRNA mediated gene silencing in plants

Wild type and mutant Arabidopsis plants

Post-transcriptional gene regulation (PTGR) is a term for the exceedingly complex processes that determine how the transcriptome is translated into the proteome. Such processes include how mRNA interacts with and is regulated by small RNA (sRNA) and RNA binding proteins (RBPs). The main aim of our research is to investigate how PTGR processes are being mediated by sRNA and RBPs.



Open to students


Selected publications

Reichel M and Millar AA (2015) Specificity of plant microRNA target MIMICs: Cross-targeting of miR159 and miR319. Journal of Plant Physiology 180, 45-48.

Reichel M, Li Y, Li J and Millar AA (2015) Inhibiting plant microRNA activity: molecular SPONGEs, target MIMICs and STTMs all display variable efficacies against target microRNAs. Plant Biotechnology Journal (in press)

Li J, Reichel M, Li Y and Millar AA (2014) The functional scope of plant microRNA-mediated silencing. Trends in Plant Science 19, 750-756.

Li, J, Reichel, M and Millar AA (2014) Determinants beyond both complementarity and cleavage govern miR159 efficacy in Arabidopsis. PLoS Genetics 10, e1004232.

Deveson I, Li J and Millar AA (2013) MicroRNAs with analogous target complementarities perform with highly variable efficacies in Arabidopsis. FEBS Letters 587, 3703-3708.

Allen RS, Nakasugi K, Doran R, Millar AA and Waterhouse PM (2013) Facile mutant identification via a single parental backcross method and application of whole genome sequencing based mapping pipelines.  Frontiers in Plant Science 4, 362.

Deveson I, Li J and Millar AA (2013) Expression of human ARGONAUTE 2 inhibits endogenous microRNA activity in Arabidopsis. Frontiers in Plant Science 4, 96, doi: 10.3389/fpls.2013.00096.

Li J and Millar AA (2013) Expression of a microRNA-resistant target transgene misrepresents the functional significance of the endogenous microRNA:target gene relationship. Molecular Plant 6, 577-580.

  • Agius C, Eamens AL, Millar, A Watson JM and Wang M-B (2012) RNA silencing and antiviral defense in plants. In, JM Watson and M-B Wang (eds) Antiviral resistance in Plants: Methods and protocols, Methods of Molecular Biology vol. 894, Springer Science, New York, pp
  • Alonso-Peral MM, Sun C and Millar AA (2012) MircoRNA159 can act as a switch or tuning microRNA independently of its abundance in Arabidopsis. PLoS ONE 7(4): e34751
  • Allen RS and Millar AA (2012) Genetic and molecular approaches to assess microRNA function. In, R. Sunkar (ed.), MicroRNAs in Plant Development and Stress Responses, Signaling and Communication in Plants 15, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-27384-1, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, pp 123-148. 
  • Fahim M, Millar AA, Wood CC and Larkin PJ (2012) Resistance to Wheat streak mosaic virus generated by expression of an artificial polycistronic microRNA in wheat. Plant Biotechnology Journal. 10, 150-163. 
  • Reichel M, Li J and Millar AA (2011) Silencing the silencer: strategies to inhibit microRNA activity. Biotechnology Letters 33, 1285-92. 
  • Greenup AG, Sasani S, Oliver SN, Walford SA, Millar AA and Trevaskis B (2011) Transcriptome analysis of the vernalization response in barley (Hordeum vulgare) seedlings. PLoS One 6, e17900.
  • Allen, RS, Li J, Alonso-Peral MM, White RG, Gubler F and Millar AA (2010) MicroR159 regulation of most conserved targets in Arabidopsis has negligible phenotypic effects. Silence 1:18 
  • Alonso-Peral MM, Li J, Li Y, Allen RS, Schnippenkoetter W, Ohms S, White RG, Millar AA (2010) The microR159 regulated GAMYB-like genes inhibit growth and promote programmed cell death in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 154, 757-771
  • Fahim M, Ayala-Navarrete L, Millar AA, Larkin PJ (2010) Hairpin RNA derived from viral NIa gene confers immunity to wheat streak mosaic virus infection in transgenic wheat plants. Plant Biotechnology Journal 8, 821-834.
  • Barrero JM, Millar AA, Griffiths J, Czechowski T, Scheible WR, Udvardi M, Reid JB, Ross JJ, Jacobsen JV, Gubler F (2010) Gene expression profiling identifies two regulatory genes controlling dormancy and ABA sensitivity in Arabidopsis seeds. The Plant Journal 61, 611-622
  • Allen, RS, Li J, Stahle MI, Dubroué A, Gubler F, Millar AA (2007) Genetic analysis demonstrates functional redundancy and the major target genes of the Arabidopsis miR159 family. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 104, 16371-16376.
  • Millar AA, Jacobsen JV, Ross JJ, Helliwell CA, Poole AT, Scofield G, Reid JB, Gubler F. (2006) Seed dormancy and ABA metabolism in Arabidopsis and barley: the role of ABA 8’ hydroxylase. The Plant Journal 45, 942-954.
  • Millar AA, Waterhouse PM (2005) Plant and animal microRNAs: similarities and differences. Functional and Integrative Genomics 5, 129-135.
  • Gubler F, Millar AA, Jacobsen JV (2005) Dormancy release, ABA and pre-harvest sprouting. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 8, 183-187.
  • Millar AA, Gubler F (2005) The Arabidopsis GAMYB-like genes, MYB33 and MYB65, are microRNA-regulated genes that redundantly facilitate anther development. The Plant Cell 17, 705-721.

All publications

News & events


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Staff of RSB have been awarded eleven ARC Discovery Grants, two LIEF (Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities) grants and four DECRA (Discovery Early Career Researcher Award) Fellowships.


Science Masters at ANU

Marlene Reichel: from Austria to ANU

Marlene Reichel came from Austria to ANU, to do a Master of Biotechnology (Research), and then a PhD in the Research School of Biology. See more of her story, and why she came to ANU, in this video.

Updated:  28 May 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director RSB/Page Contact:  Webmaster RSB