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Animals 2019, 9(4), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9040152

Comparative Transcriptomics Reveal Key Sheep (Ovis aries) Hypothalamus LncRNAs that Affect Reproduction

1
Key Laboratory of Animal Genetics and Breeding and Reproduction of Ministry of Agriculture, Institute of Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100193, China
2
Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine, Anhui Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hefei 230031, China
3
State Key Laboratory of Sheep Genetic Improvement and Healthy Production, Xinjiang Academy of Agricultural and Reclamation Sciences, Shihezi 832000, China
4
Tianjin Institute of Animal Sciences, Tianjin 300381, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this study.
Received: 13 March 2019 / Revised: 31 March 2019 / Accepted: 3 April 2019 / Published: 8 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Breeding of Livestock in the Age of Genomics)
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Simple Summary

The hypothalamus has an important role in sheep reproduction. In this study, the key long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) associated with sheep fecundity were detected and characterized using the RNA Sequencing technique in sheep hypothalami. The results indicated that several key lncRNAs may affect crucial reproductive processes by differentially influencing the expression of their target genes in polytocous sheep in the follicular phase (PF) vs. monotocous sheep in the follicular phase (MF) and in polytocous sheep in the luteal phase (PL) vs. monotocous sheep in the luteal phase (ML). These results provide an insight into the prolificacy mechanism in sheep without FecB mutation in terms of the hypothalamus.

Abstract

The diverse functions of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), which execute their functions mainly through modulating the activities of their target genes, have been have been widely studied for many years (including a number of studies involving lncRNAs in the ovary and uterus). Herein, for the first time, we detect lncRNAs in sheep hypothalami with FecB++ through RNA Sequencing (RNA-Seq) and identify a number of known and novel lncRNAs, with 622 and 809 found to be differentially expressed in polytocous sheep in the follicular phase (PF) vs. monotocous sheep in the follicular phase (MF) and polytocous sheep in the luteal phase (PL) vs. monotocous sheep in the luteal phase (ML), respectively. Then, Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analyses were performed based on the predicted target genes. The most highly enriched GO terms (at the molecular function level) included carbonyl reductase (NADPH), 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (NADP+), and prostaglandin-E2 9-reductase activity in PF vs. MF, and phosphatidylinositol-3,5-bisphosphate binding in PL vs. ML was associated with sheep fecundity. Interestingly, the phenomena of valine, leucine, and isoleucine degradation in PL vs. ML, and valine, leucine, and isoleucine biosynthesis in PF vs. MF, were present. In addition, the interactome of lncRNA and its targets showed that MSTRG.26777 and its cis-targets ENSOARG00000013744, ENSOARG00000013700, and ENSOARG00000013777, and MSTRG.105228 and its target WNT7A may participate in the sheep reproductive process at the hypothalamus level. Significantly, MSTRG.95128 and its cis-target Forkhead box L1 (FOXG1) were shown to be upregulated in PF vs. MF but downregulated in PL vs. ML. All of these results may be attributed to discoveries of new candidate genes and pathways related to sheep reproduction, and they may provide new views for understanding sheep reproduction without the effects of the FecB mutation. View Full-Text
Keywords: sheep; hypothalamus; fecundity; lncRNAs sheep; hypothalamus; fecundity; lncRNAs
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Zhang, Z.; Tang, J.; Di, R.; Liu, Q.; Wang, X.; Gan, S.; Zhang, X.; Zhang, J.; Hu, W.; Chu, M. Comparative Transcriptomics Reveal Key Sheep (Ovis aries) Hypothalamus LncRNAs that Affect Reproduction. Animals 2019, 9, 152.

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