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Identification and characterization of the Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) miRNAs by deep sequencing and predication of their targets

Huang, Yong, Yang, YouBing, Gao, XiaoChan, Ren, HongTao, Sun, XiHong
3 Biotech 2017 v.7 no.4 pp. 235
Andrias davidianus, RNA libraries, amphibians, gene expression, heart, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, kidneys, liver, microRNA, muscles, proteolysis, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, signal transduction, spleen, spliceosomes, testes, tight junctions
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are non-coding small RNA of approximately 22 nt in length. They are considered as key regulators for gene expression at the post-transcriptional level and play an important role in the regulation of many fundamental biological processes. Andrias davidianus, as one of the largest amphibian on earth, may represent the transitional type of animal from aquatic to terrestrial life, but so far, no miRNA has been identified in the species. In this study, Illumina deep sequencing was used for high-throughput analysis of miRNAs in a pooled small RNA library isolated from eight tissues sample of A. davidianus including the spleen, liver, muscle, kidney, skin, testis, gut, and heart. In total, 6,213,146 reads were obtained, 5,962,175 of which were related to 143 unique miRNAs, including 140 conserved and three novel A. davidianus-specific miRNAs. Among them, seven conserved miRNAs and one novel miRNA were selected to validate their expression pattern by stem-loop qRT-PCR. Moreover, 4700 potential target genes were predicted for 143 A. davidianus miRNAs; GO enrichment analysis and KEGG pathway showed that most of the targets are involved in diverse biological processes including ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis, FOXO signaling pathway, tight junction, and spliceosome. This study provides the first large-scale identification and characterization of A. davidianus miRNAs, and predicted their potential target genes; it will lay a valuable foundation for future understanding the role of these miRNAs on regulating diverse biological processes.