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BMC Genomics. 2019 Jan 30;20(1):96. doi: 10.1186/s12864-019-5462-2.

Dynamic expression and functional analysis of circRNA in granulosa cells during follicular development in chicken.

Author information

1
College of Animal Science and Technology, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, 225009, China.
2
Jiangsu Institute of Poultry Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, Yangzhou, 225216, China.
3
College of Animal Science and Technology, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, 225009, China. zgx1588@126.com.
4
College of Animal Science and Technology, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, 225009, China. jywang@yzu.edu.cn.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Circular RNA (circRNA) is a type of noncoding RNA involved in a variety of biological processes, especially in post-transcriptional regulation. The granulosa cells of follicles play a determining role in ovarian development. However, the function of circRNA in chicken follicles is unclear. To better understand the molecular mechanism underlying follicular development and granulosa cell function, we performed a strategy of second-generation sequencing and linear RNA depletion for granulosa cells from small yellow follicles (SYF, 5-8 mm), the smallest hierarchal follicles (F6, 9-12 mm), and the largest hierarchal follicles (F1, ~ 40 mm).

RESULTS:

We predicted a total of 11,642 circRNAs that distributed on almost all chromosomes. The majority of the splice lengths of circRNAs were 200-500 nt and mainly produced from intron and CDS regions. During follicle growth, differentially expressed (DE) circRNAs showed dynamic changes which were tissue- and stage-specific. The host genes of DE circRNAs were functionally enriched in GTPase activity and several pathways involved in reproduction. Moreover, bioinformatic prediction analysis for circRalGPS2 demonstrated that circRNAs from the same genes may share common miRNA to act as a sponge. The predicted target genes were enriched in various biological processes including cognition, cell communication, and regulation of signaling, and several pathways related to reproduction such as tight junction, oocyte meiosis, progesterone-mediated oocyte maturation, and GnRH signaling.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study provides a starting point for further experimental investigations into chicken circRNAs and casts a light on the understanding of follicle development.

KEYWORDS:

Chicken; Circular RNA; Follicles; Granulosa cells; Pathways

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