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Genomic analysis of miRNAs in an extreme mammalian hibernator, the Arctic ground squirrel

TitleGenomic analysis of miRNAs in an extreme mammalian hibernator, the Arctic ground squirrel
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsLiu, Y, Hu, W, Wang, H, Lu, M, Shao, C, Menzel, C, Yan, Z, Li, Y, Zhao, S, Khaitovich, P, Liu, M, Chen, W, Barnes, BM, Yan, J
JournalPhysiological Genomics

MicroRNAs(miRNAs) are 19- to 25-nucleotide-long small and noncoding RNAsnow well-known for their regulatory roles in gene expression throughposttranscriptional and translational controls. Mammalian hibernationis a physiological process involving profound changes in set-pointsfor food consumption, body mass and growth, body temperature, andmetabolic rate in which miRNAs may play important regulatory roles.In an initial study, we analyzed miRNAs in the liver of an extremehibernating species, the Arctic ground squirrel (Spermophilus parryii),using massively parallel Illumina sequencing technology.We identified 200 ground squirrel miRNAs, including 18 novelmiRNAs specific to ground squirrel and mir-506 that is fast evolvingin the ground squirrel lineage. Comparing animals sampled after atleast 8 days of continuous torpor (late torpid), within 5 h of aspontaneous arousal episode (early aroused), and 1–2 mo after hibernationhad ended (nonhibernating), we identified differentially expressedmiRNAs during hibernation, which are also compared withthe results from two other miRNA profiling methods: Agilent miRNAmicroarray and real-time PCR. Among the most significant miRNAs,miR-320 and miR-378 were significantly underexpressed during bothstages of hibernation compared with nonhibernating animals, whereasmiR-486 and miR-451 were overexpressed in late torpor but returnedin early arousal to the levels similar to those in nonhibernatinganimals. Analyses of their putative target genes suggest that thesemiRNAs could play an important role in suppressing tumor progressionand cell growth during hibernation. High-throughput sequencingdata and microarray data have been submitted to GEO database withaccession: GSE19808.

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