RNA-sequencing and bioinformatics analysis of long noncoding RNAs and mRNAs in the asthenozoospermia

Biosci Rep. 2020 Jul 31;40(7):BSR20194041. doi: 10.1042/BSR20194041.


Asthenozoospermia is one of the major causes of human male infertility. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) play critical roles in the spermatogenesis processes. The present study aims to investigate the intricate regulatory network associated with asthenozoospermia. The lncRNAs expression profile was analyzed in the asthenozoospermia seminal plasma exosomes by RNA-sequencing, and the functions of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were analyzed by Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway and DO (Disease Ontology) enrichment analyses. Pearson's correlation test was utilized to calculate the correlation coefficients between lncRNA and mRNAs. Moreover, the lncRNA-miRNA-mRNA co-expression network was constructed with bioinformatics. From the co-expression analyses, we identified the cis regulated correlation pairs lncRNA-mRNA. To confirm sequencing results with five of the identified DElncRNAs were verified with quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). We identified 4228 significantly DEGs, 995 known DElncRNAs, 2338 DEmRNAs and 11,706 novel DElncRNAs between asthenozoospermia and normal group. GO and KEGG analyses showed that the DEGs were mainly associated with metabolism, transcription, ribosome and channel activity. We found 254,981 positive correlations lncRNA-mRNA pairs through correlation analysis. The detailed lncRNA-miRNA-mRNA regulatory network included 11 lncRNAs, 35 miRNAs and 59 mRNAs. From the co-expression analyses, we identified 7 cis-regulated correlation pairs lncRNA-mRNA. Additionally, the qRT-PCR analysis confirmed our sequencing results. Our study constructed the lncRNA-mRNA-miRNA regulation networks in asthenozoospermia. Therefore, the study findings provide a set of pivotal lncRNAs for future investigation into the molecular mechanisms of asthenozoospermia.

Keywords: RNA sequencing; asthenozoospermia; exosomes; lncRNAs; mRNAs.