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Identification and characterization of microRNAs from porcine skeletal muscle

Xie, S.S., Huang, T.H., Shen, Y., Li, X.Y., Zhang, X.X., Zhu, M.J., Qin, H.Y., Zhao, S.H.
Animal genetics 2010 v.41 no.2 pp. 179-190
gene expression, genome, humans, liver, mice, microRNA, muscle development, muscles, non-coding RNA, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, sequence analysis, skeletal muscle, swine
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. There is increasing evidence to suggest that miRNAs participate in muscle development in mice and humans; however, few studies have focused on miRNAs in porcine muscle tissue. Here, we experimentally detected and identified conserved and unique miRNAs from porcine skeletal muscle. Fifty-seven distinct miRNAs were identified, of which 39 have not been reported earlier in the pig. Of these, two miRNAs appear to be novel and pig-specific. Surprisingly, these two differ only by a single nucleotide. A part of their primary transcript was cloned and confirmed by sequencing analysis. Alignment of the two sequences using ClustalW showed that the precursor sequences were almost identical, but the flanking sequences were different, indicating that these two novel miRNAs may represent rapidly evolving miRNAs in the pig genome. The expression patterns of eight miRNAs were characterized by real-time polymerase chain reaction of eight pig tissue samples. The ssc-let-7e and ssc-miR-181b miRNAs were expressed in all tissues analysed. The ssc-let-7c, ssc-miR-125b, ssc-miR-new1 and ssc-miR-new2 miRNAs were expressed in several tissues, while ssc-miR-122 and ssc-miR-206 were specifically expressed in the liver and muscle respectively. Our results add to existing data on porcine miRNAs and are useful for investigating the biological functions of miRNAs in porcine skeletal muscle development.