Identification and characteristics of microRNAs from army worm, Spodoptera frugiperda cell line Sf21

PLoS One. 2015 Feb 18;10(2):e0116988. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116988. eCollection 2015.


microRNAs play important regulatory role in all intrinsic cellular functions. Amongst lepidopteran insects, miRNAs from only Bombyx mori have been studied extensively with a little focus on Spodoptera sp. In the present study, we identified a total of 226 miRNAs from Spodoptera frugiperda cell line Sf21. Of the total, 116 miRNAs were well conserved within other insects, like B. mori, Drosophila melanogaster and Tribolium castenum while the remaining 110 miRNAs were identified as novel based on comparative analysis with the insect miRNA data set. Landscape distribution analysis based on Sf21 genome assembly revealed clustering of few novel miRNAs. A total of 5 miRNA clusters were identified and the largest one encodes 5 miRNA genes. In addition, 12 miRNAs were validated using northern blot analysis and putative functional role assignment for 6 Sf miRNAs was investigated by examining their relative abundance at different developmental stages of Spodoptera litura and body parts of 6th instar larvae. Further, we identified a total of 809 potential target genes with GO terms for selected miRNAs, involved in different metabolic and signalling pathways of the insect. The newly identified miRNAs greatly enrich the repertoire of insect miRNAs and analysis of expression profiles reveal their involvement at various steps of biochemical pathways of the army worm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genomics
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing*
  • Larva / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Ovary / growth & development
  • Ovary / metabolism
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA*
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Sf9 Cells
  • Spodoptera / cytology*
  • Spodoptera / genetics
  • Spodoptera / growth & development


  • MicroRNAs

Grants and funding

This work was supported by a financial grant from the Dept. of Biotechnology, Govt. of India, (BT/PR10673/AGR/36/579/2008). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.