Characterization and Comparative Analysis of MicroRNAs in 3 Representative Red Algae

Document Type : Research Paper


School of Life Science, Shanxi University, Wucheng Road No. 92, Taiyuan 030006, P. R. China.


Background: MicroRNA (miRNA) is a key regulator at the gene posttranscriptional regulation level. We have previously identified miRNAs and their putative targets in 3 representative red algae, Chondrus crispus, Galdieria sulphurariais and Porphyridium purpureum.
Objectives: In this study, unique molecular and evolutionary characterization of miRNAs were revealed in the 3 red algae based on the comparative miRNAs profiling.
Materials and Methods: Genome locations of small RNAs (sRNAs), miRNAs and MIRNAs (MIRs) in the 3 red algae were shown by collinearity analysis. Characterization of miRNAs and MIRs were profiled via bioinformatics analysis. Taken MIR156s and miR156s for examples, red algae miRNAs evolutionary features were demonstrated via phylogenetic and evolutionary information analysis. MiRNA targets main inhibition type was validated via performing data statistics and RLM-RACE PCR. Key target genes and their function were predicted by the common Gene Ontolgoy (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis.
Results: Quantity, nucleotide bias and common sequences of miRNAs were analyzed in the 3 red algae. Four typical precursor structures and primary molecular features of red algae miRNAs were profiled. Genome-wide collinearity analysis of sRNAs, miRNAs and MIRs in the 3 red algae was performed to show their distribution and interrelation based on the deep sequencing data. Taken red algae MIR156s for example, their family members and sequences divergence were demonstrated. The whole evolutionary processes of miR156s and pre-miR156s in red algae were steady with negative selected pressure though diverse phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary parameters showed. Through 3 red algae miR156 targets validation, cleavage was validated as their main miRNA targets inhibition type. The common target genes (GO:0009536) enriched significantly for plastid formation will provide important insights for red algal biopigment research. The common KEGG pathways (ko01100) enriched significantly were predicted without a detailed reference metabolic map.
Conclusions: MiRNA plays an essential role in gene expression regulation involved in diverse biological processes of red algae. Comprehensive molecular and evolutionary features of miRNAs in the 3 red algae will provide insights for further utilizing the algae resources at the molecular level.


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