MicroRNA expression profiles in avian haemopoietic cells

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, abundant, non-coding RNAs that modulate gene expression by interfering with translation or stability of mRNA transcripts in a sequence-specific manner. A total of 734 precursor and 996 mature miRNAs have so far been identified in the chicken genome. A number of these miRNAs are expressed in a cell type-specific manner, and understanding their function requires detailed examination of their expression in different cell types. We carried out deep sequencing of small RNA populations isolated from stimulated or transformed avian haemopoietic cell lines to determine the changes in the expression profiles of these important regulatory molecules during these biological events. There were significant changes in the expression of a number of miRNAs, including miR-155, in chicken B cells stimulated with CD40 ligand. Similarly, avian leukosis virus (ALV)-transformed DT40 cells also showed changes in miRNA expression in relation to the naive cells. Embryonic stem cell line BP25 demonstrated a distinct cluster of upregulated miRNAs, many of which were shown previously to be involved in embryonic stem cell development. Finally, chicken macrophage cell line HD11 showed changes in miRNA profiles, some of which are thought to be related to the transformation by v-myc transduced by the virus. This work represents the first publication of a catalog of microRNA expression in a range of important avian cells and provides insights into the potential roles of miRNAs in the hematopoietic lineages of cells in a model non-mammalian species.

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