Supplementary Material for: Characterization and Differential Expression Patterns of Conserved microRNAs and mRNAs in Three Genders of the Rice Field Eel (Monopterus albus)
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous small RNAs that can regulate target mRNAs by binding to their sequences in the 3′ untranslated region. The expression of miRNAs and their biogenetic pathway are involved in sexual differentiation and in the regulation of the development of germ cells and gonadal somatic cells. The rice field eel (Monopterus albus) undergoes a natural sexual transformation from female to male via an intersex stage during its life cycle. To investigate the molecular mechanisms of this sexual transformation, miRNAs present in the different sexual stages of the rice field eel were identified by high-throughput sequencing technology. A significantly differential expression among the 3 genders (p < 0.001) was observed for 48 unique miRNAs and 3 miRNAs*. Only 9 unique miRNAs showed a more than 8-fold change in their expression among the 3 genders, including mal-miR-430a and mal-miR-430c which were higher in females than in males. However, mal-miR-430b was only detected in males. Several potential miRNA target genes (cyp19a, cyp19b, nr5a1b, foxl2 amh, and vasa) were also investigated. Real-time RT-PCR demonstrated highly specific expression patterns of these genes in the 3 genders of the rice field eel. Many of these genes are targets of mal-miR-430b according to the TargetScan and miRTarBase. These results suggest that the miR-430 family may be involved in the sexual transformation of the rice field eel.