Fast and slow myofiber-specific expression profiles are affected by noncoding RNAs in Mongolian horses

Comp Biochem Physiol Part D Genomics Proteomics. 2021 Nov 16;41:100942. doi: 10.1016/j.cbd.2021.100942. Online ahead of print.


The heterogeneity and plasticity of muscle fibers are essential for the athletic performance of horses, mainly at the adaption of exercises and the effect on muscle diseases. Skeletal muscle fibers can be generally distinguished by their characteristics of contraction as slow and fast type myofibers. The diversity of contractile properties and metabolism enable skeletal muscles to respond to the variable functional requirements. We investigated the muscle fiber composition and metabolic enzyme activities of splenius muscle and gluteus medius muscle from Mongolian horses. The deep RNA-seq analysis of detecting differentially expressed mRNAs, lncRNAs, circRNAs and their correlation analysis from two muscles were performed. Splenius muscle and gluteus medius muscle from Mongolian horses showed a high divergence of myofiber compositions and metabolic enzyme activities. Corresponding to their phenotypic characteristics, 57 differentially expressed long noncoding RNAs and 12 differentially expressed circle RNAs were found between two muscles. The analysis results indicate multiple binding sites were detected in lncRNAs and circRNAs with myofiber-specific expressed miRNAs. Among which we found significant correlations between the above noncoding RNAs, miRNAs, their target genes, myofiber-specific developmental transcript factors, and sarcomere genes. We suggest that the ceRNA mechanism of differentially expressed noncoding RNAs by acting as miRNA sponges could be fine tuners in regulating skeletal muscle fiber composition and transition in horses, which will operate new protective measures of muscle disease and locomotor adaption for racehorses.

Keywords: CircRNA; Expression profile; LncRNA; Mongolian horse; Myofiber.