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Open Access Research

Identification and characterization of microRNAs in the pancreatic fluke Eurytrema pancreaticum

Min-Jun Xu1, Chun-Ren Wang2, Si-Yang Huang1*, Jing-Hua Fu13, Dong-Hui Zhou1, Qiao-Cheng Chang2, Xu Zheng2 and Xing-Quan Zhu124*

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Etiological Biology, Key Laboratory of Veterinary Parasitology of Gansu Province, Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu Province 730046, People’s Republic of China

2 College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Heilongjiang Bayi Agricultural University, Daqing, Heilongjiang Province 163319, People’s Republic of China

3 College of Animal Science, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, 510642, People’s Republic of China

4 College of Animal Science and Technology, Yunnan Agricultural University, Kunming, Yunnan Province, 650201, People’s Republic of China

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Parasites & Vectors 2013, 6:25  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-6-25

Published: 25 January 2013

Abstract

Background

Eurytrema pancreaticum is one of the most common flukes, which mainly infects ruminants globally and infects human beings accidentally; causing eurytremiasis that has high veterinary and economic importance. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs and are now considered as a key mechanism of gene regulation at the post-transcription level.

Methods

We investigated the global miRNA expression profile of E. pancreaticum adults using next-generation sequencing technology combined with real-time quantitative PCR.

Results

By using the genome of the closely-related species Schistosoma japonicum as reference, we obtained 27 miRNA candidates out of 16.45 million raw sequencing reads, with 13 of them found as known miRNAs in S. japonicum and/or S. mansoni, and the remaining 14 miRNAs were considered as novel. Five out of the 13 known miRNAs coming from one family named as sja-miR-2, including family members from miR-2a to miR-2e. Targets of 19 miRNAs were successfully predicated out of the 17401 mRNA and EST non-redundant sequences of S. japonicum. It was found that a significant high number of targets were related to “chch domain-containing protein mitochondrial precursor” (n = 29), “small subunit ribosomal protein s30e” (n = 21), and “insulin-induced gene 1 protein” (n = 9). Besides, “egg protein cp3842” (n = 2), “fumarate hydratase” (n = 2), “ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme” (n = 2), and “sperm-associated antigen 6” (n = 1) were also found as targets of the miRNAs of E. pancreaticum.

Conclusions

The present study represents the first global characterization of E. pancreaticum miRNAs, which provides novel resources for a better understanding of the parasite, which, in turn, has implications for the effective control of the disease it causes.

Keywords:
MicroRNA (miRNA); Eurytrema pancreaticum; Profile; Pancreatic fluke; Trematoda