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Comparative analysis of miRNA expression during the development of insects of different metamorphosis modes and germ-band types

AuthorsYlla, Guillem; Piulachs, Maria-Dolors ; Bellés, Xavier
Issue Date2017
PublisherBioMed Central
CitationBMC Genomics 18(1): 774 (2017)
Abstract[Background]: Do miRNAs contribute to specify the germ-band type and the body structure in the insect embryo? Our goal was to address that issue by studying the changes in miRNA expression along the ontogeny of the German cockroach Blattella germanica, which is a short germ-band and hemimetabolan species. [Results]: We sequenced small RNA libraries representing 11 developmental stages of B. germanica ontogeny (with especial emphasis on embryogenesis) and the changes in miRNA expression were examined. Data were compared with equivalent data for two long germ-band holometabolan species Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila virilis, and the short germ-band holometabolan species Tribolium castaneum. The identification of B. germanica embryo small RNA sequences unveiled miRNAs not detected in previous studies, such as those of the MIR-309 family and 54 novel miRNAs. Four main waves of miRNA expression were recognized (with most miRNA changes occurring during the embryonic stages): the first from day 0 to day 1 of embryogenesis, the second during mid-embryogenesis (days 0-6), the third (with an acute expression peak) on day 2 of embryonic development, and the fourth during post-embryonic development. The second wave defined the boundaries of maternal-to-zygotic transition, with maternal mRNAs being cleared, presumably by Mir-309 and associated scavenger miRNAs. [Conclusion]: miRNAs follow well-defined patterns of expression over hemimetabolan ontogeny, patterns that are more diverse during embryonic development than during the nymphal stages. The results suggest that miRNAs play important roles in the developmental transitions between the embryonic stages of development (starting with maternal loading), during which they might influence the germ-band type and metamorphosis mode.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-017-4177-5
Identifiersdoi: 10.1186/s12864-017-4177-5
e-issn: 1471-2164
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