Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part B, Biochemistry & molecular biology

MicroRNA-122 targets genes related to liver metabolism in chickens.

PMID 25711929


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression by targeting mRNAs. MicroRNA-122 (miR-122) has important functions in mammalian and fish livers, but its functions in the poultry liver are largely unknown. In this study, we determined the expression patterns of miR-122 in the chicken and identified its target genes in the chicken liver. We found that chicken miR-122 was highly expressed in the liver and that its expression in the liver was up-regulated during the early posthatch life. By bioinformatics and reporter gene analyses, we identified PKM2, TGFB3, FABP5 and ARCN1 as miR-122 target genes in the chicken liver. miR-122 knockdown in primary chicken hepatocytes and expression analysis of miR-122 and predicted target mRNAs in the chicken liver suggested that the expression of PKM2 and FABP5 in the chicken liver is regulated by miR-122. Knockdown of miR-122 affected the expression of 123 genes in cultured chicken hepatocytes. Among these genes, the largest cluster, which consisted of 21 genes, was involved in liver metabolism. These findings suggest that miR-122 plays a role in liver metabolism in the chicken by directly or indirectly regulating the expression of genes involved in liver metabolism.