- Chen M, Storey KB. (2014) Large-scale identification and comparative analysis of miRNA expression profile in the respiratory tree of the sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus during aestivation. Marine Genomics 13, 39-44.
The sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus withstands high water temperatures in the summer by suppressing its metabolic rate and entering a state of aestivation. We hypothesized that changes in the expression of miRNAs could provide important post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression during hypometabolism via control over mRNA translation. The present study analyzed profiles of miRNA expression in the sea cucumber respiratory tree using Solexa deep sequencing technology. We identified 279 sea cucumber miRNAs, including 15 novel miRNAs specific to sea cucumber. Animals sampled during deep aestivation (DA; after at least 15 days of continuous torpor) were compared with animals from a non-aestivation (NA) state (animals that had passed through aestivation and returned to an active state). We identified 30 differentially expressed miRNAs ([RPM (reads per million) > 10, |FC| (|fold change|) ≥ 1, FDR (false discovery rate) < 0.01]) during aestivation, which were validated by two other miRNA profiling methods: miRNA microarray and real-time PCR. Among the most prominent miRNA species, miR-124, miR-124-3p, miR-79, miR-9 and miR-2010 were significantly over-expressed during deep aestivation compared with non-aestivation animals, suggesting that these miRNAs may play important roles in metabolic rate suppression during aestivation. High-throughput sequencing data and microarray data have been submitted to the GEO database with accession number: 16902695.