MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small noncoding RNAs that have important regulatory roles in multicellular organisms. However, miRNA has never been identified experimentally in protist. Direct cloning of 438 expressed miRNA tags by microRNA serial analysis of gene expression from the parasitic protist Trichomonas vaginalis identified nine candidate miRNAs. Bioinformatics analysis of the corresponding genomic region revealed that these miRNA candidates contain a classical stem-loop-stem structure of pre-microRNAs. Analysis of the 20 nt long mature tva-miR-001 showed that it is an intergenic miRNA located at the scaffold DS113596. Tva-miR-001 was differentially expressed in the trophozoite, pseudocyst and amoeboid stages. Based on the experimental results of the present study, we provided solid evidence that protist possesses a miRNA regulating network comparable with multicellular organisms for the first time.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes