Diversity in parasitic nematode genomes: the microRNAs of Brugia pahangi and Haemonchus contortus are largely novel

Winter, A.D., Weir, W. , Hunt, M., Berriman, M., Gilleard, J.S., Devaney, E. and Britton, C. (2012) Diversity in parasitic nematode genomes: the microRNAs of Brugia pahangi and Haemonchus contortus are largely novel. BMC Genomics, 13, p. 4. (doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-13-4)




<b>BACKGROUND:</b> MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play key roles in regulating post-transcriptional gene expression and are essential for development in the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and in higher organisms. Whether microRNAs are involved in regulating developmental programs of parasitic nematodes is currently unknown. Here we describe the the miRNA repertoire of two important parasitic nematodes as an essential first step in addressing this question. <b>RESULTS:</b> The small RNAs from larval and adult stages of two parasitic species, Brugia pahangi and Haemonchus contortus, were identified using deep-sequencing and bioinformatic approaches. Comparative analysis to known miRNA sequences reveals that the majority of these miRNAs are novel. Some novel miRNAs are abundantly expressed and display developmental regulation, suggesting important functional roles. Despite the lack of conservation in the miRNA repertoire, genomic positioning of certain miRNAs within or close to specific coding genes is remarkably conserved across diverse species, indicating selection for these associations. Endogenous small-interfering RNAs and Piwi-interacting (pi)RNAs, which regulate gene and transposon expression, were also identified. piRNAs are expressed in adult stage H. contortus, supporting a conserved role in germline maintenance in some parasitic nematodes. <b>CONCLUSIONS:</b> This in-depth comparative analysis of nematode miRNAs reveals the high level of divergence across species and identifies novel sequences potentially involved in development. Expression of novel miRNAs may reflect adaptations to different environments and lifestyles. Our findings provide a detailed foundation for further study of the evolution and function of miRNAs within nematodes and for identifying potential targets for intervention.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Devaney, Professor Eileen and Weir, Professor Willie and Winter, Dr Alan and Gilleard, Professor John and Britton, Professor Collette
Authors: Winter, A.D., Weir, W., Hunt, M., Berriman, M., Gilleard, J.S., Devaney, E., and Britton, C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Infection & Immunity
Journal Name:BMC Genomics
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN (Online):1471-2164
Published Online:04 January 2012
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2012 Winter et al
First Published:First published in BMC Genomics 13:4
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher
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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
491471Comparative genomics of nematodes: defining the role of miRNAs in developmentEileen DevaneyWellcome Trust (WELLCOME)086823Infection Immunity and Inflammation Life Sciences