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Sci Rep. 2015 Dec 2;5:17743. doi: 10.1038/srep17743.

Mitochondria-related miR-151a-5p reduces cellular ATP production by targeting CYTB in asthenozoospermia.

Zhou R1,2, Wang R3, Qin Y1,2, Ji J1,2, Xu M1,2, Wu W1,2, Chen M1,2, Wu D2, Song L2, Shen H1,4, Sha J1, Miao D1,3, Hu Z1,4, Xia Y1,2, Lu C1,2, Wang X1,2.

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State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Institute of Toxicology, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210029, China.
Key Laboratory of Modern Toxicology of Ministry of Education, School of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210029, China.
Research Center for Bone and Stem Cells, Department of Anatomy, Histology, and Embryology, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Key Laboratory of Modern Toxicology of Ministry of Education, School of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.


Mitochondria, acting as the energy metabolism factory, participate in many key biological processes, including the maintenance of sperm viability. Mitochondria-related microRNA (miRNA), encoded by nuclear genome or mitochondrial genome, may play an important regulatory role in the control of mitochondrial function. To investigate the potential role of mitochondria-related miRNAs in asthenozoospermia, we adopted a strategy consisting of initial screening by TaqMan Low Density Array (TLDA) and further validation with quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Validation of the profiling results was conducted in two independent phases. Eventually, two seminal plasma miRNAs (sp-miRs) (miR-101-3p, let-7b-5p) were found to be significantly decreased, while sp-miR-151a-5p was significantly increased in severe asthenozoospermia cases compared with healthy controls. To further study their potential roles in asthenozoospermia, we then evaluated mitochondrial function of GC-2 cells transfected with these potentially functional miRNAs. Our results demonstrated that transfection with miR-151a-5p mimics decreased the mitochondrial respiratory activity. Besides, Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) level was decreased when transfected with miR-151a-5p mimics. In addition, Cytochrome b (Cytb) mRNA and protein levels were also decreased when miR-151a-5p was overexpressed. These results indicate that miR-151a-5p may participate in the regulation of cellular respiration and ATP production through targeting Cytb.

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