• Ju Z, Jiang Q, Liu G, Wang X, Luo G, Zhang Y, Zhang J, Zhong J, Huang J. (2018) Solexa sequencing and custom microRNA chip reveal repertoire of microRNAs in mammary gland of bovine suffering from natural infectious mastitis. Animal Genetics 49(1), 3-18.

Identification of microRNAs (miRNAs), target genes and regulatory networks associated with innate immune and inflammatory responses and tissue damage is essential to elucidate the molecular and genetic mechanisms for resistance to mastitis. In this study, a combination of Solexa sequencing and custom miRNA chip approaches was used to profile the expression of miRNAs in bovine mammary gland at the late stage of natural infection with Staphylococcus aureus, a widespread mastitis pathogen. We found 383 loci corresponding to 277 known and 49 putative novel miRNAs, two potential mitrons and 266 differentially expressed miRNAs in the healthy and mastitic cows’ mammary glands. Several interaction networks and regulators involved in mastitis susceptibility, such as ALCAM, COL1A1, APOP4, ITIH4, CRP and fibrinogen alpha (FGA), were highlighted. Significant down-regulation and location of bta-miR-26a, which targets FGA in the mastitic mammary glands, were validated using quantitative real-time PCR, in situ hybridization and dual-luciferase reporter assays. We propose that the observed miRNA variations in mammary glands of mastitic cows are related to the maintenance of immune and defense responses, cell proliferation and apoptosis, and tissue injury and healing during the late stage of infection. Furthermore, the effect of bta-miR-26a in mastitis, mediated at least in part by enhancing FGA expression, involves host defense, inflammation and tissue damage.

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