The germline of the malaria mosquito produces abundant miRNAs, endo-siRNAs, piRNAs and 29-nt small RNA

Castellano, Leandro, Rizzi, Ermanno, Krell, Jonathan, Di Cristina, Manlio, Galizi, Roberto, Mori, Ayako, Tam, Janis, De Bellis, Gianluca, Stebbing, Justin, Crisanti, Andrea and Nolan, Tony (2015) The germline of the malaria mosquito produces abundant miRNAs, endo-siRNAs, piRNAs and 29-nt small RNA. BMC genomics, 16. p. 100. ISSN 1471-2164

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Small RNAs include different classes essential for endogenous gene regulation and cellular defence against genomic parasites. However, a comprehensive analysis of the small RNA pathways in the germline of the mosquito Anopheles gambiae has never been performed despite their potential relevance to reproductive capacity in this malaria vector.

RESULTS

We performed small RNA deep sequencing during larval and adult gonadogenesis and find that they predominantly express four classes of regulatory small RNAs. We identified 45 novel miRNA precursors some of which were sex-biased and gonad-enriched , nearly doubling the number of previously known miRNA loci. We also determine multiple genomic clusters of 24-30 nt Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) that map to transposable elements (TEs) and 3'UTR of protein coding genes. Unusually, many TEs and the 3'UTR of some endogenous genes produce an abundant peak of 29-nt small RNAs with piRNA-like characteristics. Moreover, both sense and antisense piRNAs from TEs in both Anopheles gambiae and Drosophila melanogaster reveal novel features of piRNA sequence bias. We also discovered endogenous small interfering RNAs (endo-siRNAs) that map to overlapping transcripts and TEs.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first description of the germline miRNome in a mosquito species and should prove a valuable resource for understanding gene regulation that underlies gametogenesis and reproductive capacity. We also provide the first evidence of a piRNA pathway that is active against transposons in the germline and our findings suggest novel piRNA sequence bias. The contribution of small RNA pathways to germline TE regulation and genome defence in general is an important finding for approaches aimed at manipulating mosquito populations through the use of selfish genetic elements.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Biochemistry
Depositing User: Leandro Castellano
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2018 11:44
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 15:30
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/76529

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