Identification of the miRNA-mRNA regulatory network of antler growth centers
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Antler growth is a unique event compared to other growth and development processes in mammals. Antlers grow extremely fast during the rapid growth stage when growth rate peaks at 2 cm per day. Antler growth is driven by a specific endochondral ossification process in the growth center that is in the distal region of the antler tip. In this study, we used state-of-art RNA-seq technology to analyze the expression profiles of mRNAs and miRNAs during antler growth. Our results indicated that the expression levels of multiple genes involved in chondrogenesis and endochondral ossification, including Fn1, Sox9, Col2a1, Acan, Col9a1, Col11a1, Hapln1, Wwp2, Fgfr3, Comp, Sp7 and Ihh, were significantly increased at the rapid growth stage. Our results also indicated that there were multiple differentially expressed miRNAs interacting with differentially expressed genes with opposite expression patterns. Furthermore, some of the miRNAs, including miR-3072-5p, miR-1600, miR-34-5p, miR-6889-5p and miR-6729-5p, simultaneously interacted with and controlled multiple genes involved in the process of chondrogenesis and endochondral ossification. Therefore, we established a miRNA-mRNA regulatory network by identifying miRNAs and their target genes that were differentially expressed in the antler growth centers by comparing the rapid growth stage and the initial growth stage.
KeywordsAntler growth center miRNA mRNA regulatory network RNA-Seq
This work was financially supported through grants from the Science and Technology Development Project of Jilin Province (Grant number 20170520044JH), the Science and Technology Project of Jilin Provincial Education Department (Grant number JJKH20170721KJ), the TCM Clinical Research Center for Bone diseases of Jilin Province (Grant No. 20180623048TC), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant number 81702136) and the National Chinese Medicine Standardization Project (Grant numbers ZYBZH-Y-JL-26 and ZYBZH-C-JL-22). We thank Beijing igeneCode Biotech Co. Ltd., for the assistance of data analysis.
Compliance with ethical standards
The procedures of this study were approved by the Animal Care and Use Committee of Changchun University of Chinese Medicine (Changchun, China) and were in accordance with the university’s guidelines for animal research.