LncRNAs have recently received special attention due to their critical role in many important biological processes. There are few reports on its regulatory function in sheep fat deposition. In this study, two sheep populations with different tail types in Xinjiang, Bashibai sheep (fat-tailed) and the hybrid population of Bashibai sheep and wild argali (small-tailed) were selected for whole transcriptome sequencing from their tail tissues. First, 728 differentially expressed LncRNAs of tail fat between Bashibai and F2 sheep were identified by RNA-seq. Second, the tissue expression profile and relative expression difference between Bashibai and F2 sheep of 2 of 728 DE LncRNAs were analyzed by RT-PCR. LncRNA-MSTRG.24995 was highly expressed in tail fat, while lncRNA-MSTRG.36913 was highly expressed in subcutaneous fat. In addition, the expressions of LncRNA-MSTRG.24995 and LncRNA-MSTRG.36913 in tail fat of F2 sheep were significantly lower than that of Bashibai sheep, while those patterns in longissimus dorsi, quadriceps femoris and rumen were reversed. Third, the expression pattern of target genes FASN and THRSP in each tissue was similar with that of corresponding LncRNAs. The LncRNA-MSTRG.24995 directly affects tail fat deposition by FASN gene, while the LncRNA-MSTRG.36913 indirectly affects that by THRSP gene. This will help us to understand molecular mechanism of fat tail deposition from transcriptomic perspectives.
Keywords: LncRNAs; RNA-seq; mRNA; sheep; tail fat deposition.