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J Immunol. 2013 Feb 15;190(4):1491-500. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1200801. Epub 2013 Jan 18.

Genome-wide analyses of amphioxus microRNAs reveal an immune regulation via miR-92d targeting C3.

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State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, National Engineering Research Center of South China Sea Marine Biotechnology, Department of Biochemistry, College of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen (Zhongshan) University, Guangzhou 510275, People's Republic of China.


Recently, amphioxus has served as a model for studying the origin and evolution of vertebrate immunity. However, little is known about how microRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in the immune defense in amphioxus. In this article, we present a systematic study of amphioxus miRNAs in the acute-phase response to bacterial infection; miR-92d was found to regulate the complement pathway in this basal chordate. We identified all 155 possible miRNAs present in the amphioxus Branchiostoma belcheri genome by bioinformatics analyses, including 57 newly identified miRNAs (called bbe-miRNAs), and characterized the miRNA expression pattern. Four miRNAs (bbe-miR-7, bbe-miR-4868a, bbe-miR-2065, and bbe-miR-34b) were upregulated and bbe-miR-92d was downregulated under the challenge of both Vibrio anguillarum and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. We further predicted miRNA targets and identified mRNA targets of immune-related miRNA using the hybrid PCR method. We propose that miR-92d regulates the complement pathway through targeting C3 for controlling the acute immune response to bacterial infections. This study provides evidence for the complex immune regulation of miRNAs in the acute-phase response in basal chordates.

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