MicroRNA sequence variation can impact interactions with target mRNA in cattle

Dan Hao, Xiao Wang, Yu Yang, Hong Chen*, Bo Thomsen*, Lars Erik Holm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background: Small non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) are important modulators at post-transcriptional levels. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located in miRNA genes can alter the secondary structure of pre-miRNA to either impair or promote the miRNA maturation processes. Furthermore, SNPs located in the miRNA seed regions can stabilize or disturb miRNA-target interactions, thereby, quantitatively influence the expression of target genes. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to detect SNPs in bovine miRNAs using the whole-genome re-sequencing datasets of 1632 cattle of five breeds from the 1000 bull genomes project. Results: In total, our study identified 1109, 334, and 130 SNPs in the miRNA precursor, mature, and seed regions, respectively. The heterozygosity values were generally less than 0.3, and the minor allele frequencies (MAFs) were mainly less than 0.1. Most SNPs were in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) (HWE-P > 0.05). Furthermore, we found that the majority of SNPs (MAF > 0.1 and HWE-P > 0.05) in the miRNA seed regions altered the repertoire of target genes, which in turn were enriched in different KEGG pathways or GO terms. Thus target prediction for bta-miR-2888 revealed loss of 309 target genes and gain of 691 target genes. The 691 gained target genes were significantly enriched in 60 KEGG pathways and 21 GO terms. Conclusion: In summary, our study identified candidate SNPs in miRNA precursor, mature, and seed regions that are likely to affect target RNA interactions, thereby potentially influencing cattle phenotypic traits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number147373
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Cattle
  • MicroRNA
  • Quantitative trait locus
  • Single-nucleotide polymorphism


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