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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02010

Computational network analysis identifies evolutionarily conserved miRNA-gene interactions potentially regulating immune response in bovine trypanosomosis

  • 1Rochester Institute of Technology, United States

Bovine trypanosomosis is a devastating disease that causes huge economic loss to the global cattle industry on yearly basis. Selection of accurate biomarkers are important in early disease diagnosis and treatment. Of late, micro-RNAs (miRNAs) are becoming the most useful biomarkers for both infectious and non-infectious diseases in humans but this is not the case in animals. miRNAs are non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression through binding to the 3’-, 5’-untranslated regions (UTR) or coding sequence (CDS) region of one or more target genes. The molecular identification of miRNAs that regulates the expression of immune genes responding to bovine trypanosomosis is poorly defined, as well as the possibility that these miRNAs could serve as potential biomarkers for disease diagnosis and treatment currently unknown. To this end, we utilized in silico tools to elucidate conserved miRNAs regulating immune response genes during infection, in addition to cataloguing significant genes. Based on the p value of 1.77E-32, we selected 25 significantly expressed immune genes. Using prediction analysis, we identified a total of 4,251 bovine miRNAs targeting these selected genes across the 3’UTR, 5’UTR and CDS regions. Thereafter, we identified candidate miRNAs based on the number of gene targets and their abundance at the three regions. In all, we found the top 13 miRNAs that are significantly conserved targeting 7 innate immune response genes, including bta-mir-2460, bta-mir-193a, bta-mir-2316 and bta-mir-2456. Our gene ontology analysis suggests that these miRNAs are involved in gene silencing, cellular protein modification process, RNA-induced silencing complex, regulation of humoral immune response mediated by circulating immunoglobulin and negative regulation of chronic inflammatory response, among others. In conclusion, this study identifies specific miRNAs that may be involved in the regulation of gene expression during bovine trypanosomosis. These miRNAs have the potential to be used as biomarkers in the animal and veterinary research community to facilitate the development of tools for early disease diagnosis/detection, drug target and the rational design of drugs to facilitate disease treatment.

Keywords: Bovine trypanosomosis, Expression, miRNA - microRNA, Cattle, evolution, immune response

Received: 28 Jun 2019; Accepted: 16 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Morenikeji, Hawkes, Hudson and Thomas. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Bolaji N. Thomas, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, 14623, New York, United States, bntsbi@rit.edu