MicroRNA (miRNA) are endogenous small noncoding RNA gene products, on average 22 nt long, that play important regulatory roles in mediating gene expression by binding to and targeting mRNAs for degradation or translational repression. In this paper we identify both novel and conserved miRNA sequences present in the genome of the gray mouse lemur, Microcebus marinus. In total, 122 conserved and 44 novel miRNA were identified with high confidence from the lemur genome (Mmur_2.0) and were used for expression analysis. All conserved and novel miRNA were subjected to relative quantification by RT-qPCR in liver samples from control and torpid lemurs. A total of 26 miRNA (16 conserved and 10 novel) showed increased levels during primate torpor, whereas 31 (30 conserved and 1 novel) decreased. Additional in silico mapping of the predicted mRNA targets of torpor-responsive mature miRNA suggested that miRNA that increased during torpor were collectively involved in cell development and survival pathways, while miRNA that decreased were enriched in targeting immune function. Overall, the study suggests new regulatory mechanisms of primate torpor via miRNA action.

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Institute of Biochemistry

Biggar, K.K, Luu, B.E. (B. E.), Wu, C.W. (C. W.), Pifferi, F. (F.), Perret, M. (M.), & Storey, K. (2018). Identification of novel and conserved microRNA and their expression in the gray mouse lemur, Microcebus murinus, a primate capable of daily torpor. Gene, 677, 332–339. doi:10.1016/j.gene.2018.08.014