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PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e24883. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024883. Epub 2011 Sep 28.

A comprehensive expression profile of microRNAs in porcine pituitary.

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  • 1College of Animal Science, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, China.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are an abundant class of small RNAs that regulate expressions of most genes. miRNAs play important roles in the pituitary, the "master" endocrine organ.However, we still don't know which role miRNAs play in the development of pituitary tissue or how much they contribute to the pituitary function. By applying a combination of microarray analysis and Solexa sequencing, we detected a total of 450 miRNAs in the porcine pituitary. Verification with RT-PCR showed a high degree of confidence for the obtained data. According to the current miRBase release17.0, the detected miRNAs included 169 known porcine miRNAs, 163 conserved miRNAs not yet identified in the pig, and 12 potentially new miRNAs not yet identified in any species, three of which were revealed using Northern blot. The pituitary might contain about 80.17% miRNA types belonging to the animal. Analysis of 10 highly expressed miRNAs with the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) indicated that the enriched miRNAs were involved not only in the development of the organ but also in a variety of inter-cell and inner cell processes or pathways that are involved in the function of the organ. We have revealed the existence of a large number of porcine miRNAs as well as some potentially new miRNAs and established for the first time a comprehensive miRNA expression profile of the pituitary. The pituitary gland contains unexpectedly many miRNA types and miRNA actions are involved in important processes for both the development and function of the organ.

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