Location: Home > Research Update

Chinese Scientists Uncovered the Molecular Mechanism of circRNA Regulating Porcine Meat Production

Source: Author:Tang Zhonglin Date:2017-09-26

  China is one of the world's largest pig breeding and pork consumption country, and meat quality improvement has been one of the most important research topics in pig breeding industry. The molecular mechanism of meat quality trait is extremely complex, and it is regulated by various RNA molecules such as miRNA, lncRNA and circRNA and its multidimensional network. The circRNA is a novel class of endogenous noncoding RNAs that are distinguished from traditional linear RNAs and have a closed loop structure that plays an important regulatory role in many biological processes.

  The team researchers of pig genetic engineering and breeding innovation have developed a circRNA research platform to draw porcine circRNA spatial and temporal map. They also analyzed circRNA regulation role in the mechanisms of meat production and regulation, and established a circular RNA database. The results were recently published in "DNA research" (IF = 5.404) which is famous in genome-related research field (the journal was launched in 1994, usually 160 articles published annually). Research fellow, Dr. Tang, Zhonglin was the co-corresponding author and Dr. Liang, Guoming was the first author.

  The authors identified 5934 circRNAs from 9 different tissues including heart, liver, etc and muscles at 3 developmental stages. Molecular characterization analysis revealed that the expression of porcine circRNA was highly spatial and temporal, and had a strong conservative compared with those of mouse and humans. In addition, more than 30% of circRNAs showed a miRNA sponge role in regulating gene expression. Hundreds of circRNA were expressed in a skeletal muscle specific way and related with meat production. Further study revealed that the circRNA mainly regulated the growth and muscle fiber type conversion of the skeletal muscle from 0 to 30 days after birth. The circRNA mainly regulated the glucose metabolism and calcium ion signal of skeletal muscle at 30 to 240 days. Finally, the authors constructed a circRNA-miRNA-mRNA multidimensional regulatory network and a circRNA database. To our knowledge, this is the first circRNA expression profile and circRNA database in farm animals.

  Dr. Tang explained that Pig is one of the most important farm animals and large animal model for medical research. This study not only opens the door in the field of circRNA for molecular breeding investigation and biomedical usage, but also provides genetic resources for scientific and technical workers who engaged in research of circRNA function and evolution.