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Open AccessArticle

Co-Expression Network Analysis Identifies miRNA–mRNA Networks Potentially Regulating Milk Traits and Blood Metabolites

1
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Sherbrooke Research and Development Centre, 2000 College Street, Sherbrooke, QC J1M 0C8, Canada
2
Department of Biology, University of Sherbrooke, 2500 University Boulevard, Sherbrooke, QC J1K 2R1, Canada
3
Department of Animal Science, McGill University, 21111 Lakeshore Road, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, QC H9X 3V9, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(9), 2500; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19092500
Received: 25 June 2018 / Revised: 5 August 2018 / Accepted: 16 August 2018 / Published: 24 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition Genomics)
MicroRNAs (miRNA) regulate mRNA networks to coordinate cellular functions. In this study, we constructed gene co-expression networks to detect miRNA modules (clusters of miRNAs with similar expression patterns) and miRNA–mRNA pairs associated with blood (triacylglyceride and nonesterified fatty acids) and milk (milk yield, fat, protein, and lactose) components and milk fatty acid traits following dietary supplementation of cows’ diets with 5% linseed oil (LSO) (n = 6 cows) or 5% safflower oil (SFO) (n = 6 cows) for 28 days. Using miRNA transcriptome data from mammary tissues of cows for co-expression network analysis, we identified three consensus modules: blue, brown, and turquoise, composed of 70, 34, and 86 miRNA members, respectively. The hub miRNAs (miRNAs with the most connections with other miRNAs) were miR-30d, miR-484 and miR-16b for blue, brown, and turquoise modules, respectively. Cell cycle arrest, and p53 signaling and transforming growth factor–beta (TGF-β) signaling pathways were the common gene ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways enriched for target genes of the three modules. Protein percent (p = 0.03) correlated with the turquoise module in LSO treatment while protein yield (p = 0.003) and milk yield (p = 7 × 10−04) correlated with the turquoise model, protein and milk yields and lactose percent (p < 0.05) correlated with the blue module and fat percent (p = 0.04) correlated with the brown module in SFO treatment. Several fatty acids correlated (p < 0.05) with the blue (CLA:9,11) and brown (C4:0, C12:0, C22:0, C18:1n9c and CLA:10,12) modules in LSO treatment and with the turquoise (C14:0, C18:3n3 and CLA:9,11), blue (C14:0 and C23:0) and brown (C6:0, C16:0, C22:0, C22:6n3 and CLA:10,12) modules in SFO treatment. Correlation of miRNA and mRNA data from the same animals identified the following miRNA–mRNA pairs: miR-183/RHBDD2 (p = 0.003), miR-484/EIF1AD (p = 0.011) and miR-130a/SBSPON (p = 0.004) with lowest p-values for the blue, brown, and turquoise modules, respectively. Milk yield, protein yield, and protein percentage correlated (p < 0.05) with 28, 31 and 5 miRNA–mRNA pairs, respectively. Our results suggest that, the blue, brown, and turquoise modules miRNAs, hub miRNAs, miRNA–mRNA networks, cell cycle arrest GO term, p53 signaling and TGF-β signaling pathways have considerable influence on milk and blood phenotypes following dietary supplementation of dairy cows’ diets with 5% LSO or 5% SFO. View Full-Text
Keywords: co-expression; microRNA; mRNA, transcription factor; blood metabolites; milk components; milk fatty acids co-expression; microRNA; mRNA, transcription factor; blood metabolites; milk components; milk fatty acids
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Ammah, A.A.; Do, D.N.; Bissonnette, N.; Gévry, N.; Ibeagha-Awemu, E.M. Co-Expression Network Analysis Identifies miRNA–mRNA Networks Potentially Regulating Milk Traits and Blood Metabolites. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 2500.

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