Comparative transcriptome analysis reveals a regulatory network of microRNA-29b during mouse early embryonic development
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Ying Wang1,*, Tao Zhou2,*, Jinyuan Wan2, Ye Yang1, Xiaojiao Chen1, Jiayi Wang1, Cheng Zhou2, Mingxi Liu2, Xiufeng Ling1, Junqiang Zhang1
1Department of Reproduction, Nanjing Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital, Affiliated to Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210004, P.R. China
2State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Department of Histology and Embryology, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210029, P.R. China
*These authors have contributed equally to this work
Mingxi Liu, email: email@example.com
Junqiang Zhang, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Xiufeng Ling, email: email@example.com
Keywords: miR-29b, Nanog, Klf4, embryogenesis, reprogramming
Received: February 03, 2016 Accepted: July 09, 2016 Published: July 20, 2016
MicroRNAs are endogenous ~22 nt RNAs that regulate gene expression by translational inhibition and mRNA destabilization. MicroRNA-29b (miR-29b) is essential for progression of mouse embryos past preimplantation development; however, details of the underlying regulatory network remain to be elucidated. Here, we used RNA sequencing to identify changes in the transcriptome of mouse embryos in response to miR-29b inhibition. Morula-stage embryos that had been subject to miR-29b inhibition throughout preimplantation development exhibited significant expression changes in 870 genes compared with controls. Among 405 genes that were downregulated, 30 genes encoded factors with known essential function during early embryonic development, including the pluripotent stem cell factor Nanog. We identified 19 genes encoding putative miR-29b target transcripts. These included Zbtb40, Hbp1, Ccdc117, Ypel2, Klf4, and Tmed9, which are upregulated at the 4-cell state of mouse development concomitant with miR-29b downregulation. Luciferase reporter analysis confirmed that Zbtb40, Hbp1, Ccdc117, Ypel2, and Klf4 transcripts are direct targets of miR-29b. These results suggest that miR-29b decreases the mRNA levels of several target genes during early mouse development, including the gene encoding the reprogramming factor Klf4. We hypothesize that inhibition of miR-29b causes overexpression of its target genes, triggering downstream signaling networks to decrease the expression of genes that are essential for embryonic development. In conclusion, miR-29b controls an extensive regulatory network in early mouse embryos, which comprises reprogramming factors and molecular regulators of post-transcriptional modification processes.
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