Identification and Expression of Equine MER-Derived miRNAs
Jeong-An Gim1,2,3, and Heui-Soo Kim1,2,*
1Department of Biological Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, 2Genetic Engineering Institute, Pusan National University,
Busan 46241, Korea, 3The Genomics Institute, Life Sciences Department, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology
(UNIST), Ulsan 44919, Korea
Received December 4, 2016; Revised March 6, 2017; Accepted March 15, 2017.; Published online March 21, 2017.
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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are single-stranded, small RNAs (21–23 nucleotides) that function in gene silencing and translational inhibition via the RNA interference mechanism. Most miRNAs originate from host genomic regions, such as intergenic regions, introns, exons, and transposable elements (TEs). Here, we focused on the palindromic structure of medium reiteration frequencies (MERs), which are similar to precursor miRNAs. Five MER consensus sequences (MER5A1, MER53, MER81, MER91C, and MER117) were matched with paralogous transcripts predicted to be precursor miRNAs in the horse genome (equCab2) and located in either intergenic regions or introns. The MER5A1, MER53, and MER91C sequences obtained from RepeatMasker were matched with the eca-miR-544b, eca-miR- 1302, and eca-miR-652 precursor sequences derived from Ensembl transcript database, respectively. Each precursor form was anticipated to yield two mature forms, and we confirmed miRNA expression in six different tissues (cerebrum, cerebellum, lung, spleen, adrenal gland, and duodenum) of one thoroughbred horse. MER5A1-derived miRNAs generally showed significantly higher expression in the lung than in other tissues. MER91C-derived miRNA-5p also showed significantly higher expression in the duodenum than in other tissues (cerebellum, lung, spleen, and adrenal gland). The MER117-overlapped expressed sequence tag generated polycistronic miRNAs, which showed higher expression in the duodenum than other tissues. These data indicate that horse MER transposons encode miRNAs that are expressed in several tissues and are thought to have biological functions.
Keywords: medium reiteration frequency transposon, MicroRNA, palindromic structure, thoroughbred horse

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