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    The spleen is an important immune organ in fish. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to play an important role in the regulation of immune function. However, miRNA expression profiles and their interaction networks associated with the postnatal late development of spleen tissue are still poorly understood in fish. The grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) is an important economic aquaculture species in China. Here, two small RNA libraries were constructed from the spleen tissue of healthy grass carp at one-year-old and three-year-old. A total of 324 known conserved miRNAs and 9 novel miRNAs were identified by using bioinformatic analysis. Family analysis showed that 23 families such as let-7, mir-1, mir-10, mir-124, mir-8, mir-7, mir-9, and mir-153 were highly conserved between vertebrates and invertebrates. In addition, 14 families such as mir-459, mir-430, mir-462, mir-7147, mir-2187, and mir-722 were present only in fish. Expression analysis showed that the expression patterns of miRNAs in the spleen of one-year-old and three-year-old grass carp were highly consistent, and the percentage of miRNAs with TPM > 100 was above 39%. Twenty significant differentially expressed (SDE) miRNAs were identified. Gene ontology (GO) and the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis showed that these SDE miRNAs were primarily involved in erythrocyte differentiation, lymphoid organ development, immune response, lipid metabolic process, the B cell receptor signaling pathway, the T cell receptor signaling pathway, and the PPAR signaling pathway. In addition, the following miRNA-mRNA interaction networks were constructed: immune and hematopoietic, cell proliferation and differentiation, and lipid metabolism. This study determined the miRNA transcriptome as well as miRNA-mRNA interaction networks in normal spleen tissue during the late development stages of grass carp. The results expand the number of known miRNAs in grass carp and are a valuable resource for better understanding the molecular biology of the spleen development in grass carp.


    Yinli Zhao, Shengxin Fan, Pengtao Yuan, Guoxi Li. Expression characteristics and interaction networks of microRNAs in spleen tissues of grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella). PloS one. 2022;17(3):e0266189

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    PMID: 35344574

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