The Discovery and Characterization of Conserved and Novel miRNAs in the Different Developmental Stages and Organs of Pikeperch (Sander lucioperca)

Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Dec 22;25(1):189. doi: 10.3390/ijms25010189.


Micro RNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNAs that act as post-transcriptional gene expression regulators. Genes regulated in vertebrates include those affecting growth and development or stress and immune response. Pikeperch (Sander lucioperca) is a species that is increasingly being considered for farming in recirculation aquaculture systems. We characterized the pikeperch miRNA repertoire to increase the knowledge of the genomic mechanisms affecting performance and health traits by applying small RNA sequencing to different developmental stages and organs. There were 234 conserved and 8 novel miRNA genes belonging to 104 families. A total of 375 unique mature miRNAs were processed from these genes. Many mature miRNAs showed high relative abundances or were significantly more expressed at early developmental stages, like the miR-10 and miR-430 family, let-7, the miRNA clusters 106-25-93, and 17-19-92. Several miRNAs associated with immune responses (e.g., slu-mir-731-5p, slu-mir-2188-5p, and slu-mir-8159-5p) were enriched in the spleen. The mature miRNAs slu-mir-203a-3p and slu-mir-205-5p were enriched in gills. These miRNAs are similarly abundant in many vertebrates, indicating that they have shared regulatory functions. There was also a significantly increased expression of the disease-associated miR-462/miR-731 cluster in response to hypoxia stress. This first pikeperch miRNAome reference resource paves the way for future functional studies to identify miRNA-associated variations that can be utilized in marker-assisted breeding programs.

Keywords: aquaculture; development; expression pattern; micro RNAs; novel miRNAs; pikeperch; qPCR; small RNA sequencing.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Animals
  • Aquaculture
  • Breeding
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics


  • MicroRNAs