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Comparative analysis of microRNA profiles between adult Ascaris lumbricoides and Ascaris suum

Chang-Chun Shao12, Min-Jun Xu2*, Samer Alasaad3, Hui-Qun Song2, Lifei Peng4, Jian-Ping Tao1* and Xing-Quan Zhu2

Author Affiliations

1 College of Veterinary Medicine, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province 225009, PR China

2 State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Etiological Biology, Key Laboratory of Veterinary Parasitology of Gansu Province, Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu Province 730046, PR China

3 Estación Biológica de Doñana, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Avda. Américo Vespucio s/n 41092, Sevilla, Spain

4 Department of Parasitology & Clinical Parasitology, Guangdong Medical College, Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province 524023, PR China

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BMC Veterinary Research 2014, 10:99  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-99

Published: 27 April 2014



The parasitic nematodes Ascaris lumbricoides and A. suum are of great public health and economic significance, and the two taxa were proposed to represent a single species. miRNAs are known with functions of gene regulations at post-transcriptional level.


We herein compared the miRNA profiles of A. lumbricoides and A. suum female adults by Solexa deep sequencing combined with bioinformatics analysis and stem-loop real-time PCR. Using the A. suum genome as the reference genome, we obtained 171 and 494 miRNA candidates from A. lumbricoides and A. suum, respectively. Among which, 74 miRNAs were shared between the two taxa, 97 and 420 miRNAs were A. lumbricoides and A. suum specific. Target and function prediction revealed a significant set of targets which are related to ovarian message protein, vitellogenin and chondroitin proteoglycan of the two nematodes. Enrichment analysis revealed that the percentages of most predicted functions of the miRNA targets were similar, with some taxon specific or taxon enhanced functions, such as different target numbers, specific functions (NADH dehydrogenase and electron carrier functions), etc.


This study characterized comparatively the miRNAs of adult A. lumbricoides and A. suum, and the findings provide additional evidence that A. lumbricoides and A. suum represent a single species. Due to the fast evolution nature of miRNAs and the different parasitic living conditions of humans and pigs, the phenomenon above might indicate a fast evolution of miRNAs of Ascaris in humans and pigs.

MicroRNA (miRNA); Ascaris lumbricoides; Ascaris suum; Comparative analysis