The microRNA expression profile in porcine skeletal muscle is changed by constant heat stress

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Heat stress has profound effects on animal performance and muscle function, and microRNAs (miRNAs) play a critical role in muscle development and stress responses. To characterize the changes in miRNAs in skeletal muscle responding to heat stress, the miRNA expression profiles of longissimus dorsi muscles of pigs raised under constant heat stress (30 °C; n = 8) or control temperature (22 °C; n = 8) for 21 days were analyzed by Illumina deep sequencing. A total of 58 differentially expressed miRNAs were identified with 30 down-regulated and 28 up-regulated, and 63 differentially expressed target genes were predicted by miRNA–mRNA joint analysis. GO and KEGG analyses showed that the genes regulated by differentially expressed miRNAs were enriched in glucose metabolism, cytoskeletal structure and function and stress response. Real-time PCR showed that the mRNA levels of PDK4, HSP90 and DES were significantly increased, whereas those of SCD and LDHA significantly decreased by heat exposure. The protein levels of CALM1, DES and HIF1α were also significantly increased by constant heat. These results demonstrated that the change in miRNA expression in porcine longissimus dorsi muscle underlies the changes in muscle structure and metabolism in porcine skeletal muscle affected by constant heat stress.

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