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Expansion of ruminant-specific microRNAs shapes target gene expression divergence between ruminant and non-ruminant species

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Background Understanding how species-specific microRNAs (miRNAs) contribute to species-specific phenotypes is a central topic in biology. This study aimed to elucidate the role of ruminant-specific miRNAs in shaping mRNA expression divergence between ruminant and non-ruminant species. Results We analyzed miRNA and mRNA transcriptomes generated by Illumina sequencing from whole blood samples of cattle and a closely related non-ruminant species, pig. We found evidence of expansion of cattle-specific miRNAs by analyzing miRNA conservation among 57 vertebrate species. The emergence of cattle-specific miRNAs was accompanied by accelerated sequence evolution at their target sites. Further, the target genes of cattle-specific miRNAs show markedly reduced expression compared to their pig and human orthologues. We found that target genes with conserved or non-conserved target sites of cattle-specific miRNAs exhibit reduced expression. One of the significantly enriched KEGG pathway terms for the target genes of the cattle-specific miRNAs is the insulin signalling pathway, raising the possibility that some of these miRNAs may modulate insulin resistance in ruminants. Conclusions We provide evidence of rapid miRNA-mediated regulatory evolution in the ruminant lineage. Cattle-specific miRNAs play an important role in shaping gene expression divergence between ruminant and non-ruminant species, by influencing the expression of targets genes through both conserved and cattle-specific target sites.

  • Date created
    2013
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3P55DJ6Q
  • License
    Attribution 4.0 International
  • Language
  • Citation for previous publication
    • Bao, H., Kommadath, A., Sun, X., Meng, Y., Arantes, A.S., Plastow, G.S., Guan, L.L., Stothard, P. (2013). Expansion of ruminant-specific microRNAs shapes target gene expression divergence between ruminant and non-ruminant species. BMC Genomics 14(609). http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-14-609
  • Link to related item
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-14-609