Selection and Validation of Reference Genes for miRNA Expression Studies during Porcine PregnancyReport as inadecuate

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MicroRNAs comprise a family of small non-coding RNAs that modulate several developmental and physiological processes including pregnancy. Their ubiquitous presence is confirmed in mammals, worms, flies and plants. Although rapid advances have been made in microRNA research, information on stable reference genes for validation of microRNA expression is still lacking. Real time PCR is a widely used tool to quantify gene transcripts. An appropriate reference gene must be chosen to minimize experimental error in this system. A small difference in miRNA levels between experimental samples can be biologically meaningful as these entities can affect multiple targets in a pathway. This study examined the suitability of six commercially available reference genes RNU1A, RNU5A, RNU6B, SNORD25, SCARNA17, and SNORA73A in maternal-fetal tissues from healthy and spontaneously arresting-dying conceptuses from sows were separately analyzed at gestation day 20. Comparisons were also made with non-pregnant endometrial tissues from sows. Spontaneous fetal loss is a prime concern to the commercial pork industry. Our laboratory has previously identified deficits in vasculature development at maternal-fetal interface as one of the major participating causes of fetal loss. Using this well-established model, we have extended our studies to identify suitable microRNA reference genes. A methodical approach to assessing suitability was adopted using standard curve and melting curve analysis, PCR product sequencing, real time PCR expression in a panel of gestational tissues, and geNorm and NormFinder analysis. Our quantitative real time PCR analysis confirmed expression of all 6 reference genes in maternal and fetal tissues. All genes were uniformly expressed in tissues from healthy and spontaneously arresting conceptus attachment sites. Comparisons between tissue types maternal-fetal-non-pregnant revealed significant differences for RNU5A, RNU6B, SCARNA17, and SNORA73A expression. Based on our methodical assessment of all 6 reference genes, results suggest that RNU1A is the most stable reference gene for porcine pregnancy studies.

Author: Jocelyn M. Wessels, Andrew K. Edwards, Candace Zettler, Chandrakant Tayade



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