Equine chromosome 24 microRNA cluster (C24MC), the ortholog of human C14MC, is a pregnancy-related miRNA cluster. This cluster is believed to be implicated in embryonic, fetal, and placental development. The current study aimed to characterize the expression profile of this cluster in maternal circulation throughout equine gestation. The expression profile of miRNAs belonging to this cluster was analyzed in the serum of non-pregnant (diestrus), pregnant (25 d, 45 d, 4 mo, 6 mo, 10 mo), and postpartum mares. Among the miRNAs examined, 11 miRNAs were differentially expressed across the analyzed time-points. Four of these miRNAs (eca-miR-1247-3p, eca-miR-134-5p, eca-miR-382-5p, and eca-miR-433-3p) were found to be enriched in the serum of pregnant mares at Day 25 relative to non-pregnant mares. To further assess the accuracy of these miRNAs in differentiating pregnant (25 d) from non-pregnant mares, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was performed for each of these miRNAs, revealing that eca-miR-1247-3p and eca-miR-134-5p had the highest accuracy (AUCROC = 0.92 and 0.91, respectively; p < 0.05). Moreover, eca-miR-1247-3p, eca-miR-134-5p, eca-miR-409-3p, and eca-miR-379-5p were enriched in the serum of Day 45 pregnant mares. Among those miRNAs, eca-miR-1247-3p and eca-miR-409-3p retained the highest accuracy as shown by ROC analysis. GO analysis revealed that these miRNAs are mainly implicated in nervous system development as well as organ development. Using in situ hybridization, we localized eca-miR-409-3p in the developing embryo (25 d) and extra-embryonic membranes (25 and 45 d). In conclusion, the present study is the first to elucidate the circulating maternal profile of C24MC-associated miRNAs throughout pregnancy and to suggest that serum eca-miR-1247-3p, eca-miR-134-5p, and eca-miR-409-3p could be used as pregnancy-specific markers during early gestation (25 and 45 d). Overall, the high abundance of these embryo-derived miRNAs in the maternal circulation suggests an embryo-maternal communication during the equine early pregnancy.
|Journal||International Journal of Molecular Sciences|
|State||Published - Dec 2 2019|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This work was funded by the Special Research Fund (BOF) at Ghent University, the Albert G. Clay Endowment, and the Paul Mellon Postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Kentucky.
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Circulating microRNAs
- Equine chromosome 24
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry