microRNA profiling in three main stages during porcine spermatogenesis

Zonggang Luo, Yingkai Liu, Lei Chen, Michael Ellis, Mingzhou Li, Jinyong Wang, Yi Zhang, Penghui Fu, Ketian Wang, Xuewei Li, Ling Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Spermatogenesis is an intricate biological event wherein an undifferentiated spermatogonium develops into mature sperms. MicroRNAs are a type of single strand small non-coding RNA molecule and are implicated in the regulation of many crucial pathways during cell proliferation, apoptosis, and differentiation. Method: Here, we present a comprehensive comparison of miRNA expression profiling in three main stages during porcine spermatogenesis using high-throughput sequencing. Results: We built three small RNA libraries for the testis, the epididymis and the ejaculated sperm from a Landrace boar, and in total obtained 3821 precursor hairpins encoding for 4761 mature miRNAs, of which 23 are miRNA*. Notably, 940 precursor miRNAs produced both the 5’- and 3’- strands as sister pairs, indicating the distinctive expression patterns of germ cell miRNAs. Additionally, 418 out of 710 co-expressed miRNAs were identified as being differentially expressed between libraries (P < 0.001). Apart from the sexual specific X chromosome, many miRNAs were found to be located on chromosome 12, which may play potential roles in spermatogenesis according to the result of synteny analysis with human and mouse. The Gene Ontology and KEGG pathway analysis revealed that the target genes of co-expressed miRNAs were highly involved in the cell cycle process, metal ion binding, modification of plasma membrane, and the p53 signal pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-460
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 18 2015


  • Deep sequencing
  • Epididymis
  • Sperm
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Testis
  • microRNAs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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