Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have been identified in numerous species, including human, mouse, nematode, and coelacanth. They are believed to function as regulators of gene expression at least in part by sponging microRNAs. Here, we describe the identification of circRNAs in monkey (Rhesus macaque) skeletal muscle. RNA sequencing analysis was employed to identify and annotate ~12,000 circRNAs, including numerous circular intronic RNAs (ciRNAs), from skeletal muscle of monkeys of a range of ages. Reverse transcription followed by real-time quantitative (q)PCR analysis verified the presence of these circRNAs, including the existence of several highly abundant circRNAs, and the differential abundance of a subset of circRNAs as a function of age. Taken together, our study has documented systematically circRNAs expressed in skeletal muscle and has identified circRNAs differentially abundant with advancing muscle age. We propose that some of these circRNAs might influence muscle function.
Keywords: RNA-sequencing; aging; post-transcriptional gene regulation; ribonucleoprotein complex; splicing.